McCarthy lauds per diem increase

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a statement released last week, applauded the DOD Defense Travel Management Office 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, the per diem rate for temporary-duty employees stationed at China Lake was increased $21 to $176.

“I commend DTMO’s efforts to ensure that DoD employees traveling to China Lake are provided an equitable per diem consistent with current regulations,” commented McCarthy.

“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the world, and the last thing they should be worrying about is the inability to find adequate local lodging due to an outdated rate.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.”

“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,” said Mayor Peggy Breeden. “Thanks to all for a job well done!”

Doug Lueck, executive director of the Ridgecrest Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, noted that the increase in per diem, as well as the recent increase in locality pay, “demonstrates Kevin’s commitment to our prosperity.”

“Congressman McCarthy continues to actively support our community and the DOD travelers on official business to China Lake,” said Scott O’Neil, executive director of the IWV Economic Development Corp. and China Lake Alliance. “This increase not only eases the burden on these travelers but also helps the local economy.”

The General Services Administration requires any government-related facility that spans more than one city or county boundary, like China Lake, to provide traveling federal employees the highest per diem rate of the jurisdictions it covers.

In the past, travelers have received the lower Kern County rate if they lodged in Ridgecrest. After hearing about this discrepancy, McCarthy raised the issue with DTMO and asked for a review of the region’s per diem rates.

Story First Published: 2017-10-13