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McCarthy Applauds Update to Federal Employee Allowance at China Lake

Oct 5, 2017
Press Release

Congressman Kevin McCarthy applauds the Department of Defense’s Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) for rectifying a regulatory discrepancy in the per diem rate for temporary duty personnel traveling to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

Effective Oct. 1, 2017, the Per Diem rate for temporary duty employees stationed at China Lake was increased $21 to $176.

McCarthy, local elected officials and community stakeholders issued statements following the per diem increase.  

Congressman Kevin McCarthy issued the following statement:

“I commend DTMO’s efforts to ensure that DoD employees traveling to China Lake are provided an equitable per diem consistent with current regulations. These men and women directly contribute to the vital work being done at China Lake that supports our Armed Forces all over the world, and the last thing they should be worrying about is the inability to find adequate, local lodging due to an outdated rate. This rate increase will also have a direct, positive impact on the local economy and will benefit our overall Ridgecrest community.”

Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden,  issued the following statement:

“I would like to thank Representative Kevin McCarthy and the Department of Defense Travel Management Office working with so many - both locally and federally - for making the right decision to raise the per diem rate to $176. These are dollars to be spent in our local hotels and restaurants. It will have a large impact on local businesses, hotels and our own government. Dollars spent in Ridgecrest are much needed and benefit all either directly or indirectly. Thanks to all for a job well done!”

Doug Lueck, Executive Director of the Ridgecrest Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, issued the following statement:

“I want to applaud the Congressman’s efforts to increase the per diem to the local community, which supports our local restaurants and hotels and in turn every worker in these service sector jobs. From increasing Locality Pay for base employees and now this action on per diem, this demonstrates Kevin’s commitment to our prosperity.”

Scott O’Neil, Executive Director of China Lake Alliance and IWV Economic Development Corporation, issued the following statement:

"Congressman McCarthy continues to actively support our community and the DoD travelers on official business to China Lake.  He was instrumental in securing approval by the Defense Travel Management Office for an increase to the local per diem rate for government travelers to the area.  This increase not only eases the burden on these travelers, but it also helps the local economy."

Under current law, the General Services Administration requires any government-related facility that spans more than one city or county boundary, like China Lake, must provide traveling federal employees the highest per diem rate of the jurisdictions it covers. However, in the past, temporary duty personnel traveling to China Lake have received the lower Kern County rate if they lodged in Ridgecrest. After hearing about this discrepancy from several constituents in our community, Representative McCarthy raised the issue with DTMO and asked for a review of the region’s per diem rates.

DoD’s recent action to link NAWS China Lake to the higher Inyo County rate is consistent with existing federal regulation and ensures that DoD employees traveling to NAWS China Lake receive a fair and adequate allowance for lodging.