February 18,2010

Grassley questions spike in international travel costs for federal employees

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services to address increased costs of international travel by agency employees. A newly obtained department memo shows that in fiscal 2008 there was a six percent increase in the number of federal employees traveling internationally and a nearly 14 percent increase in the costs of that travel. More than 95 percent of the international travel was by employees of the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control. These three agencies fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services. In a letter to the Secretary, Grassley asked if the trend continued during the last fiscal year.

“According to the report, the increased costs were not caused by travel to more distant
locations but by travel at the higher business-class fare, and that raises questions about whether
department policies are being followed to make sure official travel isn’t any more expensive than
it needs to be,” Grassley said. “I look forward to receiving more information from the
department about these travel expenses.”

The text of Grassley’s letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius can be found in the printer-friendly version of this release.