Congressional efforts to cut federal spending have spawned a bogus directive, now circulating in some government offices, reestablishing rules for federal travelers.

The memo, signed with the names and titles of important-sounding but nonexistent officials, directs government workers to eat doggie-bag meals on the road and seek economy-class accommodations in jail cells without television sets.

The fake memo -- circulated on Air Force, Veterans Administration and Department of Transportation letterhead and designed to look official -- sets standards for travel expenses -- and sets up government travelers for all sorts of horrors on the road. It sure sounds official, but not everybody gets the joke.

Dozens of government workers have called here to ask whether the directives are real. Well, things are tough, but not that tough.

The fake directive says that, starting March 1 (the effective date of cuts mandated by the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings legislation), "low-cost quarters," such as "YMCAs, halfway houses, mental institutions, public shelters" and jails, will be assigned to all government travelers.

"Travelers . . . will be required to report to local police departments, where they will be assigned to one of the many designated public housing facilities," the memo says.

In addition, "arrangements have been made with major airlines to make available unused or partially eaten meals from previous flights to government employes," the jesters continue. "All unused/uneaten meals are to be turned in when boarding the return flight."