As part of an initiative to cut costs and in the wake of scandal surrounding a lavish conference, the Obama administration has moved to limit spending on travel by government employees. But Representative Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) told the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which convened a hearing to evaluate the travel restrictions, that scientists need to be able to attend conferences, ScienceInsider reports. Holt is a trained physicist.
"As a scientist, I know firsthand how important scientific conferences and meetings are," Holt's written testimony to the committee said. "The informal conversations, as well as the formal presentations and poster sessions that go into a conference among scientists from different institutions lead to new collaborations that have the promise of new discoveries. These are not fancy junkets."
ScienceInsider notes that the Department of Health and Human Services, spent $56.1 million on 140 conferences during fiscal year 2012.