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Public Statements

Hearing Of The Legislative Branch Subcommittee Of The Senate Appropriations Committee - Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Requests For The Government Accountability Office, The Government Printing Office And The Congressional Budget Office

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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SEN. NELSON: I think we will go ahead and get started.

My colleague, Senator Murkowski, is on her way, and with a little bit of an incapacitation, it takes her a little longer to get where she is going. So we will go ahead and get started, and then let her join in when she arrives.

So -- (strikes gavel) -- the Subcommittee will come to order.

Good afternoon to everybody, and welcome. We meet this afternoon to take testimony on the fiscal year 2010 budget request for the Government Accountability Office, the Government Printing Office, and the Congressional Budget Office.

We'll welcome our ranking member just as soon as she's able to be here.

And I want to welcome our witnesses today: Gene Dodaro, acting comptroller general; Robert Tapella, public printer; and Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office.

It's good to have you all here, together with staff, and we look forward to your remarks. If it's possible to hold those remarks, opening statements, brief -- maybe around five minutes -- and submit the rest of your testimony for the record, which we will receive, I think we'll be able to ask more questions as a result of that.

And now I'm happy to welcome my ranking member and colleague and good friend, Senator Murkowski. And you may have some opening remarks as -- when I have mine finished, before we have them make their remarks.

One thing that we've established at the first two hearings of this Subcommittee, and I think it bears repeating, is that we're not eager to increase the overall legislative branch budget this year. We're looking for your guidance in helping us to address your agency's needs in FY 2010, but this really isn't the year for extras.

The Subcommittee received an 11 percent increase in FY '09, but I seriously doubt that we're going to see anything near a double-digit increase this year. You can almost bet the opposite.

First, Mr. Dodaro, I want to thank you for your service to our country as the acting comptroller general at GAO. I think you've done an outstanding job in this role over the last year.

And according to yesterday's Washington Post, GAO ranks among the best federal government agencies to work for, in a survey conducted by the Partnership for Public Service. Congratulations. A wonderful piece outlining what a terrific place it is to work, and congratulations, and I wish you and your colleagues continued success and the continued great relationship.

I especially appreciate the efforts of your agency that you have made in assisting Congress during our country's current economic crisis in your oversight of both the Troubled Asset Relief act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

And of course I look forward to discussing your latest findings on these activities, as well as your FY 2010 budget, which shows an increase of 7 percent over FY '09 and includes 109 additional FTEs.

I also want to welcome Bob Tapella from the Government Printing Office. Your budget totals $166 million, an 18 percent increase over the current year, which I understand includes large increases for both building repairs and technology upgrades.

And finally, I want to welcome Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office. Congratulations on your recent appointment to this position.

And your FY 2010 budget totals $46.3 million, an increase of 5.2 percent and 12 additional FTEs.

And now it's my pleasure to turn to my ranking member, Senator Murkowski, for your opening remarks. And let me say it's been a pleasure working with you. This is a Committee that shows and knows no partisanship, and we want to continue to be able to work that way.

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your kind remarks.

I want to welcome the gentlemen before us today and thank you all for your work in your respective areas.

As you've mentioned, Mr. Chairman, you've talked a little bit about the realities of the budget that we are facing and our efforts to try to be perhaps a little more lean and mean. I don't like the mean part, but nothing wrong with a little leanness here.

And recognizing that the jobs that are requested are difficult, and we have a tendency to complicate, probably, your lives oftentimes with requests that come from members here. But in order for us to do our jobs, of course, we rely on you and what you provide, and we appreciate that.

As you've mentioned, Mr. Chairman, the agencies before us today are requesting a combined total of $780 million for FY '10. This is an increase of $64 million, or 9 percent, over last year. Each agency is requesting additional staffing on top of the usual cost of living increases.

And for the Government Printing Office, significant increases are requested for investments in information technology and systems development, as well as repairs to GPO's buildings.

I do recognize, fully recognize, that these three agencies perform very important functions to serve the entire federal government, not just the legislative branch, and it is important to keep that into perspective.

I do look forward to understanding fully the needs of each agency, but I would agree with you, Mr. Chairman, that I am skeptical about the need for large increases for the legislative branch.

With respect to the Government Accountability Office, I would like to note that GAO has traditionally performed a very important role for this Subcommittee in its oversight of its sister agencies.

GAO has done extensive work over the past decade in reviewing management and organizational issues at the Capitol Police, at the Architect of the Capitol, as well as the Library of Congress. And this work has been invaluable, particularly to this Subcommittee, as we attempt to promote the improvements in each of these agencies, and I would certainly hope that that would continue.

Staff discussions have been under way in recent weeks regarding the Capitol Police overtime and their staffing issues, and I would hope that GAO would place a high priority on this work as we wrestle with the need for Capitol Police staffing requirements.

There have also been discussions in the past year on the Architect of the Capitol's prioritization of its construction work, with particular emphasis on the impact of the Office of Compliance citations.

We had a very interesting hearing on that a couple of weeks ago.

We'll need to continue to have GAO's assistance to ensure that we allocate funds to these projects so that we truly do get the most bang for the buck, so we appreciate that.

Again, appreciate the good work that it is done and want you all to know that we value the important work that you do. I look forward to your comments here this afternoon.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SEN. NELSON: Thank you.

Now we'll proceed first to Mr. Dodaro, who will be followed by Mr. Tapella, and lastly but not least, Dr. Elmendorf.

Mr. Dodaro?

MR. DODARO: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Senator Murkowski. It's a pleasure to appear before you this afternoon to discuss our 2010 budget request.

First, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your kind words and the recognition of GAO as the number-two best place to work in the federal government. We're very proud of that. And making GAO a good place to work helps us serve the Congress better, and so we're very committed to doing both.

And, Senator Murkowski, among the work that we consider to be high priority is the work that we support the legislative branch and their important activities, so I can assure you that we will continue to give that work great priority.

I would like to thank the Congress and the Subcommittee for the support that we had received in 2009. That's helped us be in a good position to help support the Congress.

Our 2010 request is intended to help ensure that we're best position possible to help all the committees throughout the Congress tackle very important national issues, as well as some difficult challenges. We support every standing committee in the Congress, and about 80 percent of the subcommittees.

Now among the difficult challenges, as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, is the work that we're doing to help in the financial markets and with the economic downturn.

In addition to providing reports every 60 days on the implementation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, we are also the auditors, as of last year, of the Federal Housing Finance Administration, which is now the conservator and the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And we're also working on proposals to help the Congress make decisions on how those entities ought to go forward once they come out of the conservatorship status.

We are also the auditors of the Bank Insurance Fund. And, of course, they've had a lot of difficult challenges now, some of the most difficult since the savings and loan crisis in the 1970s and '90s.

We have also done work on the need to modernize our outdated, fragmented regulatory system. We've put that on the high-risk list for Congress so that there is attention there.

We've issued reports and we think it is very important for us to continue to help the Congress modernize the financial regulatory system so we really address the root causes of how we got into this situation in the first place and make sure it doesn't happen again.

And part of our requests for additional resources is directed toward helping us bolster our capability to help Congress decide what system should be put in place, but also that it work effectively and that there's adequate monitoring going forward. So that's a very important role for us.

Also, on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we have a range of responsibilities that the Congress has assigned to us, including bimonthly reviews of the use of the funds by selected states and localities.

We've picked 16 states and the District of Columbia. They'll receive over two-thirds of the amount of money that's provided to state and local governments. And we'll be doing a longitudinal study over the next two or three years, as the Recovery Act funds are distributed to the states and localities, to assess how they've used the money, and whether or not the Act's achieving its objectives over time.

We -- our request is intended to support also a wide range of other issues, ranging from the U.S. efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the 2010 Census, to health care issues, to energy issues, and across the full breadth of the federal government's activities going forward.

As you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, we're asking for a 6.9 percent increase. This would allow us to increase our staffing by 109 people, or 3.5 percent, in order to help respond to the estimated 1,200 requests that we receive from the Congress every year.

The Congress was very kind to us last year. We were able to increase our staffing a bit, but we're still at the lowest level we have ever been in GAO's history, at the time where our services are being required more and more.

We believe our request is a prudent one. We've really carefully thought about it. I understand perfectly the situation that you're in; I know you'll give careful attention to our request, and I appreciate that very much.

And I look forward to responding to any questions that you may have.

MR. TAPELLA: Mr. Chairman, Senator Murkowski, thank you for inviting me today to discuss GPO's appropriation for fiscal year 2010. And I'll take your advice and speak very briefly.

First, I'd like to express my deep appreciation to the Subcommittee for the support we received for GPO's fiscal year 2009 appropriations request.

More specifically, I'd like to commend your staff, Nancy Olkewicz and Carrie Apostolou, for the time they took to really understand GPO's needs. They asked a lot of tough questions, but at the end of the day they really helped us to move forward.

The fiscal year 2009 funding eliminates the shortfall in congressional printing and binding, allows us to undertake a number of valuable projects supporting electronic information dissemination to depository libraries and other users, brings FDsys closer to completion, repairs our roof, and brings -- and begins to renovate our elevators.

Second, now that the shortfall has been repaid for fiscal year 2010, we're able to request a reduction in appropriations for congressional printing and binding of approximately $3.5 million.

For the salaries and expenses of the superintendent of documents, we're seeking a modest increase of 2.2 million (dollars) to continue transforming the program to a predominantly electronic basis.

For our revolving fund, we're seeking an increase of $18.5 million to complete the development of FDsys and to carry out a number of critically important IT infrastructure projects.

We're also seeking 13.6 million (dollars) for necessary building maintenance and repairs.

I understand there will be limitations on what the Subcommittee can recommend for us and so I'm happy to discuss our priorities.

Finally, like many other agencies and many businesses these days, GPO is facing a very different business climate this year -- in our case, a direct result from the significant reduction in demand for passports from the Department of State.

We're tightening our belt, evaluating all costs and proposed projects, and taking all available measures to ensure we stay within our budget.

I won't kid you; this is going to be a tough year for us. With your understanding and support, our objective is to complete the year on a sound financial basis.

Mr. Chairman, Senator Murkowski, this concludes my remarks, and I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.

MR. ELMENDORF: Thank you, Chairman Nelson and Senator Murkowski. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today about the CBO's budget requests for fiscal year 2010.

As you know, I became CBO director just four months ago. I'm honored to have been appointed to that position and to be making the case today for CBO's proposed budget.

As you said, Mr. Chairman, our total request is about $46 million, which is a 2 million (dollars), or 5.2 percent, increase over funding for the current year.

Since CBO's launch in 1975, our mission has been to provide members of Congress and their staffs with the information you need to make effective budget and economic policy. We are committed to providing information that is objective, insightful, timely, and clearly presented and explained.

In providing this information, CBO's most important asset has always been its staff. We are about 240 people, mostly with Ph.D.s in economics or master's degrees in public policy.

And I can't resist noting that in the competition for good places to work among the small agency category in which CBO competes -- not with our friends and colleagues at GAO, but in the small agency category -- CBO was tied for third place among federal agencies.

And that is important. As Gene Dodaro noted, it helps us to serve you. It helps us to attract the best people and to create an environment in which people are doing their best work.

CBO has operated with about 235 people for the past decade, has increased only a little in size since its founding more than 30 years ago. Last year, my predecessor as director, Peter Orszag, proposed to you a two-year plan to increase the CBO staff from 235 to about 260, a phased increase of 10 percent.

Peter quantified the increased number of testimonies and the cost estimates that CBO has been asked to provide, as well as the growing amount of informal communication between CBO staff and Hill staff.

And he argued in particular that the CBO needed to increase its capacity to analyze policy changes regarding health care delivery and financing.

We are very grateful that you and your colleagues approved the first leg of that increase, and our budget for next year requests additional funding to move closer to that goal.

As you know, we also have been asked to identify the steps we might take, if additional funds were provided immediately, to shorten the timetable for providing cost estimates of major health legislation.

We've identified several steps, including acquiring additional high-speed computer hardware and software, purchasing actuarial and other expert consulting services, purchasing additional data on prescription drugs, providing additional compensation to certain CBO staff, and increasing the size of CBO staff.

The analysts that we have previously hired in the health area are playing a critical role in our current work. Of course, faced with very intricate proposals to make fundamental changes to a sixth of the U.S. economy, we are working very hard to analyze the proposals, provide the information that members of Congress need to make decisions about what to do.

As a result, all of our health analysts are working flat out to meet the demands we face and still we are always adding to the list of crucial questions that we need to address. Therefore, our budget includes funding for additional staff members in the health area.

Our budget also asks for funding for additional staff to analyze the financial system and housing market. The financial crisis and the government's responses to it have greatly boosted the demand for our work. The legislation authorizing the TARP requires CBO to review the administration's reports on the TARP.

In addition, our budget projections must include assessments of the costs of the TARP of dealing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and of the dramatically expanded activities of the FDIC and Federal Reserve.

More generally, our evaluation of the impact and cost of alternative financial and housing policies requires us to monitor and model a financial system to a degree we have not done before.

Beyond the health and financial areas, we are also requesting several additional staff in the editorial and information technology functions, which are critical to our ability to produce and disseminate our findings.

I should mention, too, that the additional people will need some place to sit, as Peter Orszag discussed last year, and we've begun discussions about how to meet that need.

I also want to emphasize that CBO's been responding to rising demands in some areas by shifting positions away from topics that've become less central for the Congress.

However, our scope for doing so is limited by the breadth of Congress's interests in climate change and energy policy, in national defense, in discretionary appropriations, in monitoring economic conditions, and much more.

In closing, let me thank the members of the Subcommittee for your strong support of CBO's work in the past. Your support of our budget request for next year would help us continue to do our job to the high standard that you and we expect.

Thank you. We're happy to answer any questions you have.

SEN. NELSON: Thank you. Should we do five minutes, first round here?

(Exchange off mike.)

SEN. NELSON: So, first of all, Mr. Dodaro, at our hearing a couple of weeks ago we discussed the Office of Compliance's OSHA oversight of the legislative branch as set forth in the Congressional Accountability Act, and we found that -- perhaps that the legislative branch was being held to a higher standard than the executive branch.

And while I don't want to be in competition, with a race to the bottom or anything of that sort, it does seem that some parity might make some sense.

Could you explain what you think about the legislative branch enforcement provisions for the OSHA, why they're different from the executive branch? If there's some justification we don't understand, we'd certainly like to pick it up.

MR. DODARO: My understanding, based on the work that we've done for the legislative branch over the years, one of the areas we were asked to look into a few years ago was the Office of Compliance and their management practices.

With regard to the OSHA provisions, my understanding is that while the provisions about the type of safety requirements are on par with the executive branch and the private sector standards, the Congressional Accountability Act required a specific time frame for violations to be fixed and funded.

That's different and, if you will, a little bit tougher standard than what applies to the executive branch and the private sector.

And I'm sure, without speaking for the congressional intent here, I think it was intended to make sure that the identified deficiencies were rectified over a certain period of time. But it does not provide a lot of flexibility that is provided in these other sectors, in the executive branch and the private sector.

So that if you would like us, we could look at how to make it on a par suggest some legislative language for you to consider.

SEN. NELSON: That's where I was going to go. And I appreciate your anticipating that.

Because clearly we ought not to have tied our hands more than others have tied their hands, because if the requirements are for fixing the citations, or fixing the defects that the citations reflect, we ought to do it in a rational, reasonable, and appropriate fashion.

And so I'd be very anxious to see what kind of language you might recommend for us to consider.

MR. DODARO: Yeah. We will do that.

SEN. NELSON: And I think it might be also helpful for us to have some evaluation of the kind of requirements that are being imposed with open staircases in the old, historic buildings. And not just as to the cost, but what this can do to the structure that represents the history of our country.

I don't want to start seeing fire doors in the middle of these buildings, particularly where we understand in some cases there's a considerable amount of sprinkler systems in place. That was one of the buildings that was being treated differently than it would have been treated under the executive branch, and we'll get you some information on that as well.

MR. DODARO: Okay. Yeah, we'd be happy to take a look at that issue.

Certainly, the historical character of the Capitol and buildings is a very important issue, and there needs to be a balance with safety issues in place and some creative thinking about how to achieve both within a reasonable cost.

So we'd be happy to take a look at that.

SEN. NELSON: Well, we're certainly on the same page, and I appreciate that very much.

On the stimulus funding, you received $25 million in the stimulus funding to be able to do your oversight. Have you -- can you update the Committee on how -- what you're doing with those funds, how you're spending them, what you're doing to gear up to provide the oversight?

MR. DODARO: Yes. The $25 million was provided to us, and it's available to us through September 30th, 2010. So there's time frame parameters on it.

We are hiring additional people to help us. We have employed, I believe, a very creative approach to do this, because we're never sure you have the money to sustain those people after that period of time when the funding's available.

So two-thirds of the people we're going to hire are going to be people who have retired from GAO that we're bringing back for specific periods of time. Some of them live in the states that we're evaluating, so that saves us a lot of cost.

We're also bringing back people on -- or bringing back, hiring people on term appointments so they will be here for a limited period of time.

And then the other third of the people we're going to hire at the entry level, and we'll be able to absorb those people, likely, through normal attrition over the next couple of years, during that period of time.

So we believe that this serves the intent for the limited amount of funding that's available. Now our work, given the spend-out rates for the stimulus bill, will extend beyond 2010.

And what we'll do is just build that into our normal budget request going forward, because most of the money will be outlaid to the localities in 2010, 2011. And some of it goes out a little bit further, but the bulk of the money is in those periods of time.

We think we've got a very good plan to meet our responsibilities under the Act, and appreciate Congress' support.

SEN. NELSON: Thank you.

Senator Murkowski?

SEN. MURKOWSKI: Let me follow up on that.

The individuals that you've indicated that you're going to be bringing on to be responsive to the oversight with the Reinvestment Act, how many of the 109 additional staff that you're looking for in this budget are actually going to be focused on this aspect, on the American Recovery and Reinvestment?

MR. DODARO: Yeah. Actually, the 109 additional people for our 2010 budget request, very few if any of those people would be for the Recovery Act purposes.

Now, we might have to supplement as things go forward and the requirements come up, because we're beginning to receive requests on the Recovery Act beyond the statutory requirements that we have so that -- to the extent to which they'd help support those.

But it's not intended to do that, Senator Murkowski. The 109 is really intended to help us in several key areas.

First is financial markets and community development, as Doug Elmendorf mentioned. The financial system and the housing markets really need a lot of attention. And so we think we can help Congress tackle some difficult issues there and bring about some needed reforms, but we need additional people.

Also, in the science and technology area we're being asked to look at more sophisticated weapons systems, satellite systems -- a lot of, as you're well aware, solutions to our environment and energy issue on the application of technology.

Congress has asked us to do technology assessments in the past, so we'd bolster staff there as well as help in a range of other areas. But it's not for the Recovery and Reinvestment Act primarily.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: It seemed, as you were going through earlier, you mentioned that it would be to help monitor and follow and produce the reports that are requested under TARP, auditors for Fannie and Freddie, for the Bank Insurance Fund, and then the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 2010 Census.

All of these are, hopefully, short-term initiatives. You're asking for 109 people, or additional staffing. What's the magic in that number?

You've indicated that you're at the lowest staffing level that you have been in some time.

MR. DODARO: Right.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: How much of what you're asking for now is to provide for these very targeted focuses?

Will these -- would this 109 be here for a period of a couple of years while we work on these projects, or do they become part of the base of the staffing level?

MR. DODARO: Right. I mentioned the TARP initiatives and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as areas of new responsibility for GAO.

They will be limited over time, although I don't know how long the TARP program would be, particularly if the government procures the toxic assets and holds them to maturity over a period of time. That could go on for an extended period of time, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be several years.

However, that still -- those areas are still A relatively small part of GAO's overall service to the Congress, among the 1,200 requests we have.

So the 109 is really intended to be part of the base to address the wide range of issues from all committees in the Congress that we receive, including a lot of work we do in the defense area in defense capabilities and management acquisition reform. We do work in cybersecurity.

So everything the federal government is involved, we're doing work on. The 109 are intended to help there in that work because we can't get to all the requests we receive from the Congress in as timely a fashion as I would like and that many of the committees would like.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: Is 1,200 requests from Congress about average? Are we seeing an ever-increasing number of requests?

MR. DODARO: It's increased since 2005 by about 15 percent, and it's held steady at 1,200. And we work with each committee to reprioritize those requests to make sure we're working on the top priorities.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: So if, in fact, you've seen an increase of 15 percent since 2005, what has your staffing level been since 2005?

MR. DODARO: It's only -- this year, for 2009, it's only been increased by about 40 or 50 FTEs. Actually, it had been going down.

And so we had a situation where the requests were going up in '06 and '07, and the staffing requirements were going down. Last year, I asked for 150. We got about a third of that, and then we're just coming back now to ask.

I firmly believe with the address -- if the 109 are addressed, that that'll be the right size for GAO, assuming there are no further unusual events in our economy. And let's hope not.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: That would be (unusual ?). (Laughter.)

MR. DODARO: Yeah.

But this time, we've -- I think that's the right level for us, to serve the Congress.

So I don't see it as coming back every year and asking for additional funding. I think this will get us up to a level that we can provide quality service to the Congress across the breadth of committees in a timely fashion.

SEN. NELSON: They did call a vote, so we'll take about a 10- minute break. Be right back.

(Recess.

)

SEN. NELSON: The vote has been accomplished, and with any luck and good fortune we won't have another interruption for a while. So I appreciate your forbearance.

Mr. Dodaro, on the 109 new FTEs, is that a number that is easily absorbed within a year -- in other words, within 12 months -- or would it be safe to say that you could do it over a two-year period if you had 50 and 50, or roughly -- some number?

But is it doable to bring on 109 people, conceivably on the first day of the budget, if you have an annualized appropriation rather than feathering them in over a period of time?

MR. DODARO: Mr. Chairman, we have an ongoing recruiting process. Each year we replace about 10 percent of our organization, which is over 300 people, just to replace normal attrition. That's held pretty steady, although we're down a little bit this year due to the economy. Not everybody is retiring as -- what they originally planned.

But we in the past have brought in over 400 people in a year. If the Congress acts before the end of the fiscal year and we have a budget going into the fiscal year, rather than under a continuing resolution, we believe we can do that. We can bring in -- replace attrition and hire 109 people.

SEN. NELSON: And absorb it all at the same time?

MR. DODARO: Yes. Yes. Yes.

SEN. NELSON: Okay. All right.

MR. DODARO: With qualified people.

SEN. NELSON: Of course, of course.

MR. DODARO: Right.

SEN. NELSON: Mr. Tapella, you're asking for 13.6 million (dollars) in FY 2010 to maintain and repair your buildings. But it's my understanding that you're also pursuing the idea of relocating to a smaller building near the future -- in the near future.

And is there an inconsistency in wanting to spend money on a facility that you may be leaving, or is this a facility other than the one that you would be leaving?

MR. TAPELLA: Thank you for the question, Mr. Chairman.

GPO would like to build a new, modern manufacturing facility on our back lot. We have approximately seven acres five blocks here from the Capitol, and we have enough land to build a new facility immediately behind our current facility. That's our goal.

And in doing so we would not only free up the 1.5 million square feet that is currently in our existing facility, but we would be able to create a modern manufacturing facility on one level.

We would be able to meet all of our needs in terms of office space and be able to build an additional 1 million square feet of space that could be available to the legislative branch should it need it, in addition to the 1.5 million square feet that we would be vacating.

In answer to your question about whether it is inconsistent, I don't believe it is, sir. We've been trying to get a new building for five years.

Prior to my time at GPO, there was a decade where there was a lot of deferred maintenance, and we're now dealing with safety and health issues.

We've got elevators, in particular, we're moving material and people up and down eight stories all day long, and the items we're asking for specifically -- and my highest priority item -- is elevator repair, within that $13.6 million.

SEN. NELSON: You've been optimistic in the past with a little bit of deferred maintenance. And now you may not be quite as optimistic about the new building, and so let's take care of the old building, just in case. Is that fair?

MR. TAPELLA: Well I -- (microphone feedback). That's bad.

Let's try that again.

I don't know that it's necessarily whether it's optimistic or --

SEN. NELSON: I'm just -- I was just having a little fun. I understand.

(Laughter.)

MR. TAPELLA: Oh, okay. I mean, quite honestly, you can only defer maintenance for so long, and then things die. And at this point I've got three elevators that are completely out of service because they are not safe to be operated.

SEN. NELSON: I understand.

I also understand that GPO has a rather complicated security workforce, and you rely on your own police force and you have contract guards as well.

What are the differences in responsibilities of the contract guards versus your own employees who serve as your security?

MR. TAPELLA: Thank you for that question as well.

We have 52 uniformed police officers, or we're budgeted for 52 uniformed police officers -- currently have eight vacancies. We also run anywhere between 46 and 44 special police officers, which are contract officers.

Now, in our mission, the mission of our police force and the combined security force is actually twofold: One, access control, and the other, protecting assets, such as the United States passport and work in progress.

We're looking at our total security posture, and it's a mixture of the two. The special police officers handle just access control. They're standing at magnetometers, working employee entrances, and greeting members.

Our police force, with the exception of supporting -- protecting the asset of the United States passport, is there to respond to issues. So an alarm goes off, the uniformed police officers respond.

SEN. NELSON: Would there be much difference in the training of these individuals?

MR. TAPELLA: There is a difference in training. All of our uniformed police officers, which are the federal officers, go down to Glencoe, our FLETC down in Georgia, to be fully trained, and they are full police officers.

The special police officers have less training. They have firearms training, they have access control training, crowd control training, and sort of the basic needs that fit what they do.

SEN. NELSON: And what about a differential in the cost? Is there a differential? Do you save money by having the two different security forces?

TAPELLA: Yes. The SPOs are anywhere between a third and a half the cost of somebody of the uniformed police branch, by the time that we include all the benefits for the federal officers.

SEN. NELSON: Have you had a study to establish that the level of security that you get from these two security forces is the kind that you truly want? That -- in other words, that there is no diminution of security because some are contracted out versus employed?

MR. TAPELLA: Anytime you're talking security, you're looking at two things: cost and risk.

And you can always have more security, but you have an intended cost, and you have to look at what that risk is of an incident occurring.

In fact, GAO just completed a study to the briefing of the Appropriations Leg Branch Committee on the House side, as well as our Committee, and in their report it says GPO generally conforms to key practices in government facility protection.

I believe that we have the right mix. I'm not a security expert; however, I do have security experts on staff that are running our entire security systems. It involves not just our officers; it involves alarms, it involves intrusion detection, it involves cameras, and a general presence.

In fact, just last week, the District of Columbia recognized the GPO police force and our security services. They did a 500-meter circle around 732 North Capitol Street, and the amount of crime in that area has been reduced significantly over the last three years since we have implemented the combination of uniformed police officers and special police officers.

SEN. NELSON: Well, it's hard to believe that the House got ahead of us, but they did. (Scattered laughter.) Because I was going to suggest that Mr. Dodaro do that very thing in evaluating the police.

But for once the House has gotten ahead of the Senate, so we won't have to ask for that. Thank you.

Dr. Elmendorf, the Senate version of the FY '09 supplemental appropriations bill -- we talked about this earlier, but I'd like to get it for the record -- includes that $2 million for CBO to address Congress's growing demand for work.

Would you explain to us how that's going to happen? And let me say that what my colleague was bringing out, it seems like Congress asks you to do more work and then gives you fits because you want to charge and put in your budget for that work.

It doesn't seem quite fair that you get squeezed at both ends -- give us more; we want to give you less.

But maybe you can tell us a little bit about the 2 million (dollars).

MR. ELMENDORF: We appreciate your concern, Mr. Chairman, for that position.

When we formulated our budget request for fiscal year 2010 a few months ago, we put forth what we viewed as an important but modest request for additional funding.

Starting a few weeks ago, some of your colleagues in the Senate became concerned that CBO might be unable to deliver estimates of the effects of health reform proposals as quickly as was desirable.

I want to be clear; we have delivered a tremendous amount of analysis. We've delivered preliminary estimates of more than 100 specific health reform items to the relevant committees and we have delivered preliminary estimates of several full-scale reform proposals, overhauls of the insurance system, to several committees.

So we have done a tremendous amount. And as I mentioned in my remarks, our health staff is working around the clock. But it is undoubtedly the case that the committees would like more analysis faster.

The complexity of the proposals they're considering and the (variance/variants) on the proposals and the variance on the (variance/variants) will indeed overwhelm our ability to do that.

So we were asked what we might do if funds were provided immediately to accelerate the process of providing analysis. I've been --

I've tried to be clear to everybody who's asked or has sat to listen, that doing more health analysis does not amount to going down to the temp agency and just checking the box on 12 new people, bringing them back to the office and lining them up, and then new results come out.

On the other hand, we do understand the urgency that Congress feels for these -- for these analyses, so we've put together a collection of steps we might take with additional funding.

The supplemental has $2 million for us in it. And the purposes to which we've said we'd put that are, first, to acquire high-speed computer equipment. A very basic point, but the proposals we're now analyzing are much more complicated than ones we have done in the past, and just the computing time is slowing us down.

And new computers that we could have in place within weeks of getting the money would accelerate that process. We would spend $300,000 on new computer equipment.

We also propose spending $400,000 to purchase actuarial and other expert services from private agencies. When we estimate, for example, the cost of various health reform proposals, judging the health and thus the likely health spending for people in certain pools is an important part of the estimate. And we have some of those skills in house and can do to that ourselves with time, but could do it much more accurately and quickly with outside services.

We propose spending $300,000 on data on prescription drugs, so we can better gauge the cost of plans that would provide drug benefits or would change the way government purchases drug benefits for individuals.

We would spend $250,000 on additional compensation to CBO staff, people who are working around the clock and, I think, show a great commitment to public service.

But I am concerned that weeks and months of this process will drive them into the ground and that we will ultimately lose their services in the future. And this is a way of trying to make up for some of the dislocation of their lives.

And then we would spend $750,000 to further increase the size of CBO staff, to hire four additional people to work in the health area.

As you know we've hired very aggressively in this area, I think appropriately so. We of course need to hire the right sorts of people, and other places in the world are also demanding people with expertise in health. So it's not straightforward.

But we have been able to hire. I think we have been very pleased with our ability to put the people we've hired over the past year to effective work.

Obviously, people come with a lot of knowledge, but not with all the knowledge they need, and we've been concerned about our ability to integrate them. But that has worked out, I think, quite well, that we have actually -- we're getting immediate value out of -- or nearly immediate value out of the people we've hired.

And we think, with additional funding, we can bring on board more people. That would enable us to do our jobs more effective and more -- effectively and more quickly.

SEN. NELSON: I'm sure it must seem like the Finance Committee has its foot on your accelerator and this Committee has its foot on your brake. And --

MR. ELMENDORF: No, Senator. A number of committees have their feet on our accelerator -- (cross talk) -- but we do not view you as the brake. We appreciate your support very much. (Laughter.)

SEN. NELSON: Senator Murkowski.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: Well, I appreciate the explanation you've given, Dr. Elmendorf. I will admit that I looked at the request in the supplemental and said, why does this have to be in the supplemental? Why the urgency?

But I think you have related -- it does appear that what has been requested in the sup will be spent within this next year.

MR. ELMENDORF: As I understand the supplemental, the money is available to us for the rest of this fiscal year and through fiscal year 2010. That is important.

Of course, we can't hire people in August and not pay them in October. But we do expect to spend the money over that period, and I think we will put it to good use.

Of course, it's your choice whether that's the best available use of the money, but we will put it to use for you, no doubt.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: I appreciate (your responding to ?) that.

Mr. Dodaro, I had one more question for you.

There was an article in The Post this morning about the review, the online review of the spending of the stimulus dollars under the Recovery Act. And it made reference to a Web site that apparently was not the government's Web site, but was actually doing more of what we had hoped than our Web site.

Can you give me a little more background on that?

MR. DODARO: My understanding is that -- and I read the article that you're talking about, and it's Recovery.org --

SEN. MURKOWSKI: Right. Right.

MR. DODARO: -- rather than dot-gov.

And it seemed to indicate that they were paying people to go through contract documents and public records and things that were done across the country and then taking that information and populating their database with it, as opposed to the approach that will be used by the executive branch, which is to have reports provided by the federal agencies and then have reports come back from all the recipients that have received Recovery Act funds. They're required to submit quarterly reports.

Now, the quarterly reports are not estimated to begin coming into the federal government until October.

They may have some pilot reports in July.

One of the recommendations we made in our first report was to better define the data collection requirements, because some of those reports are supposed to outline the number of jobs preserved or created, along with the status of the additional funding.

So -- but the basic difference is that you have a private sector -- in terms of the Web site, it's a private sector entity that is combing through public records at all levels of government and putting information together from those sources, versus the federal government building a Web site from the federal agencies and then collecting information from state and local and other recipients of the funds.

And so, it -- we have not evaluated the accuracy or completeness of a private sector data source. We would not have the authority to do that. We do plan to evaluate the federal government's Web site.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: Which I think is appropriate and you should be doing.

It does make for kind of an awkward comparison, if you will, that as a government we've tasked you to do this, and thus far there's not much to report. And yet you see that out there in the private sector, they are thumbing through reports and gathering what information -- it does all come down to the accuracy of it.

MR. DODARO: Right. Right.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: And I can't speak to -- I don't know anything more than what I read in the paper this morning.

MR. DODARO: Right.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: I hate to get all my information from The Post -- (scattered laughter).

But it is something that I wanted to raise because that question will be asked: Well, why is the government so slow in responding? If you can get private guys who can get this information, why are we so slow?

MR. DODARO: Yes. Part of the problem is the number of funding streams that are occurring at this level.

There are many different agencies involved, many different federal programs. Some of them are flowing directly to the localities, bypassing the states. Some are going through the states and then allocated down.

And that's -- one of our efforts is to focus at the state and local level and to provide that information. So we're tracking that.

The programs have different requirements. Some of the money -- for example, the Medicaid money -- paid states retroactively to October 2008. So some of that funding got out a little earlier than the transportation highways.

The 16 states that we looked at had been allocated about $15 billion. There's only $3.3 billion that was obligated. In that case, the federal government and the states had agreed on projects, about 950.

Most of them were still on the bidding process, so -- in April and May. A couple of states, Mississippi and Iowa, had actually awarded contracts and put them in place.

And then the State Stabilization Fund's a little bit even more complicated because most of that goes to education, but 18 percent they can use for a wide range of public services. So we're trying to track this, and it's just in varying stages of development.

But I think the real question is the accuracy and the completeness of whatever information is together. And hopefully we will be in a position for the localities we're at to provide insight into that.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: And we appreciate the complexity; most definitely appreciate the complexity.

I feel my job as a legislator now, now that that money is either out on the street or getting out there, we are charged with making sure that there is that level of accountability, there is that level of transparency. So we do rely on you for that accurate information.

MR. DODARO: One other thing I might point out, if I might, is that one of the recommendations that we made is that the administration clarify the amount of money that the states could use to ensure adequate oversight and accountability of the funds.

A number of states, as I'm sure you're aware, have cut back because of their own financial stress on some of the management functions and the auditing functions that they normally have in place to do that.

And that was a concern to us and so we made that recommendation. Hopefully, the administration will act on that. They're beginning to clarify that issue. But I think that's a very important point that needs attention.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: Mr. Chairman?

SEN. NELSON: Thank you.

Mr. Tapella, GPO is requesting over 32 million (dollars) in FY 2010 for the so-called revolving fund. Could you explain how the revolving fund works and which items in this request are the most critical for the success of your agency? If you could, just give us some idea of how this works.

MR. TAPELLA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Our revolving fund is just like a business checking account. GPO receives -- last year our budget -- or, excuse me, this year our budget was originally set at $1,020,000, of which roughly 12 (percent) to 13 percent is direct appropriations from this committee.

The remainder we earn by selling products and services to all three branches of the government, as well as products to the public through the GPO bookstore.

Like any business, we have a checking account and money comes in and money goes out.

Our appropriations -- for example, the Congressional Printing and Binding Fund -- when we complete work for Congress, we then bill the Appropriations and the money gets moved from the Appropriations account into the GPO revolving fund. And like any business, we keep reserves in our accounts.

In terms of our priorities, as we look at what's going in there, our highest priority is the completion of FDsys, the Federal Digital System which we released earlier this year, and that is an $8 million request.

The second priority is the Composition Systems Replacement project, which is $2 million, and the Composition Systems Replacement project is something that we use to create all congressional work, plus the work we do for the Office of Federal Register and some other customers.

The total cost of that project is, roughly, we're guesstimating, around $5 million. Last year, GPO allocated out of our retained earnings $2 million.

We're asking Congress for $2 million to cover the congressional proportion of it, and anything beyond that we'll deal with it as we move forward in the project. But we're thinking it could be as much as $1 million or so beyond the 4 million (dollars) -- the 2 million (dollars) we've allocated and the 2 million (dollars) we're asking for.

The third item is what we call GeBIZ, which is our financial system. And it's an Oracle-based financial system, and we're asking for a $3 million investment there. And like any business, we have to bill customers, and that is what we do with the Oracle systems.

I have $200,000, which is kind of required. We have to phase out our r22 air conditioning coolants, and that's a requirement from the EPA this year, and we need to fund that. And finally, 3 million (dollars) for elevator repairs.

So out of that money for the revolving fund, in terms of priority projects, it's $16.2 million.

SEN. NELSON: What is the public printer's representation fund?

MR. TAPELLA: Most federal agencies have what is called a rep fund, which is a representation and reception allowance. And in GPO's case, it is not appropriated money.

In GPO's case, the $5,000 is in our revolving fund and we have a limitation by the Committee that we can spend only spend up to $5,000 of our retained earnings for representation and allowance.

Now, unlike most other agencies, we're basically a wholly owned government business, and we have to sell products and services to other agencies. That is our complete marketing budget.

So it's a billion-dollar enterprise, and our complete marketing budget is $5,000.

I would like to see, if possible, permission to have that increased up to $7,500. In basically this past year -- I've been public printer now 18 months. In the last calendar year, the 5,000 (dollars) was not enough to do -- meet the needs of the business.

And personally, I contributed a little over $20,000 to make certain that GPO could meet its representation and marketing needs.

SEN. NELSON: If you doubled that or you tripled that, what would it do to your revenues?

MR. TAPELLA: Well, one, I hope it would help us --

SEN.NELSON: (Off mike.)

MR. TAPELLA: -- to continue in new business development. We have seen a revenue line -- our revenue trend has been going upwards for the last seven years.

We got a significant spike because of the increase in both the type of passport, the new electronic passport, and the number of passports produced.

But all of our other businesses are growing as well. And when we look at the total cost for the Government Printing Office, we have a lot of overhead, which is our IT, our infrastructure, our buildings.

If we do not have business opportunities with other agencies, the demands on our appropriations are going to be significantly greater.

I would like to see us put a significant emphasis into new business development that is mostly in the areas of security and intelligent documents.

For example, we now produce for Customs and Border Patrol the NEXUS and SENTRI cards, which are the cards that are used for border crossings to Canada and Mexico. We also do the FAST card. We just got a contract with HHS to do the Medicare card for Puerto Rico.

We have these significant capabilities, but we need to be able to make sure that we're marketing them. And in my view, these items fall into inherently governmental.

Security IDs and other secure documents ought to be in a government-owned, government-controlled facility, rather than sent to a private contractor in the private sector.

SEN. NELSON: Thank you.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: I appreciate your comments, Mr. Tapella, about where -- or how the GPO is actually changing in terms of what it is dealing with and basically staying current and looking for those business opportunities.

You've mentioned security and intelligence (sic) ID. What additional changes might you envision within the next, say, five to 10 years in terms of what it is that you were doing?

MR. TAPELLA: I think it really falls into two buckets. One bucket is in electronic information.

GPO currently operates a traditional bookstore. It's on North Capitol Street; we sell tangible books. We also have the authority to sell electronic information, and have had that authority since approximately 1993.

With the release of FDsys, which is our Federal Digital System, which is a repository of authentic government information in electronic forms, I believe that there are some business opportunities there, particularly in the area of print on demand, as well as in the area of distributing that information in a slightly different way.

That's one bucket.

The second bucket is really in the area of secure ID cards. Right now, we produce the passport for the State Department. It has an electronic chip embedded in it.

To date, GPO is the single largest chip buyer in federal government, so we have economies of scale. We are producing, and did produce on behalf of the JCCIC -- the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies -- the ID card used by 10,000 police officers on the day of the inaugural, and it was a high-tech ID card.

We're in the process of doing the NEXUS and SENTRI cards. We're looking at becoming the backup supplier for the CAC, which is the Central Access Card used by the military -- or Common Access Card -- used by the military.

That's a great revenue stream. It also takes advantage of the skilled labor we have at GPO. We are not only a traditional paper and ink manufacturer; we also are in the electronics business, and I'd like to see those skills and talents of our employees maximized.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: You've mentioned a couple of different times the collaboration between GPO and the State Department as it relates to the passports with the electronic chip.

I understand that we have seen a drop-off in demand in terms of the passports quite noticeably.

How has this fluctuation in demand impacted GPO, and are we at the point where the demand for passports has stabilized? Do you see that changing at all? What do you consider there?

MR. TAPELLA: Last year, because of the significant demand -- (microphone feedback). I don't know why I'm having this trouble today. Sorry about that.

Last year, we produced 24.5 million passports. The State Department anticipated this year that the request was going to be 16.5 million passports, and we built a budget around 16.5 million passports.

I got a surprise the week before Christmas, which was well into -- at the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year, where they said, no, no, this year we only want 10.5 million passports. That represented roughly a $75 million decrease in revenue to the Government Printing Office.

When we originally set our budget, we set roughly $2 million in retained earnings, and that's the money that we use to reinvest in our business. Obviously, we don't have that this year. And in fact, in December, we were facing a roughly $36 million budget gap between anticipated revenues and what our expenses were for the year.

We've now got that gap down to roughly 10 million (dollars) to $13 million, and over the course of this year we will end the year, I believe, in the black. But we will probably be lucky if we make two or three dollars in retained earnings by the end of this year.

We're at the mercy of our customers, just as we are at the mercy of Congress in terms of what Congress does.

In the last appropriation, last year's appropriation, we had revenue to pay back GPO's revolving fund for money expended to do congressional work, because there wasn't enough money previously allocated for such purposes.

And so we're at the mercy of our customers. And we make the best guesstimates we can, like any other business, and we run into that difficulty every now and then.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: So what is your forecast for the passports for next year?

MR. TAPELLA: We have not yet received the forecast from the State Department. I'm hoping that it will be larger than this year's. It would be nice if it would get up in the 15 (million), 16 million range.

We have dedicated nearly 150 employees just to passports. And we have a facility here in Washington D.C.; we have a facility in Stennis, Mississippi.

I think a lot will have to do with this next deadline for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which goes into effect -- what, June 1st or 30th. That may have an effect.

What we're trying to do is to get into new businesses such as Customs and Border Patrol, the NEXUS, SENTRI cards to try to make up for potential less revenue in the passport business.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: We've been pushing -- we share a border with Canada, and we have been urging Alaskans for the past 18 months to -- aggressively -- get your passport now. I think we contributed to some of your business.

But I would imagine that we are probably on that downhill, and we will -- I don't know whether it's a stabilization, but I wouldn't expect that we would see a continued increase in requests for passports.

I think that the message that we as lawmakers were trying to get out, I think they finally got it. And people really did get out and we saw that bump up, but I wonder whether it is going to continue with that.

Mr. Chairman, I had a question about the facilities issues and the police force, but I understand that you had an opportunity to already ask Mr. Tapella that when I was walking back over here, so I don't have any further questions.

SEN. NELSON: I don't know that I have any further questions.

I guess I would make a comment that maybe the representation fund should be expanded, because any business that would be looking at a downtown on one side of their business would be looking for ways to create an upswing on the other side of their business.

And it seems to me that in a day and age when we are looking for more transparency, the data, the information, everything that you have is valuable to countless numbers of groups and others.

And it would seem, unless you have saturated the market out there already, which I rather doubt it -- not with a $5,000 representation fund -- that there would be a market that you could go after.

I don't want to turn the United States government into a business, but certainly there are business applications that certainly would be appropriate for what you're doing.

So I certainly wouldn't be against seeing that fund, that number increasing. If you had any thoughts --

MR. TAPELLA: Well, I would agree with you completely. (Laughter.)

Essentially we are a business, or we operate like a business.

SEN. NELSON: And I actually think it's a good thing. I'm not opposed to it. I think it's important that we be lean and mean, like other businesses.

And there are a lot of opportunities. There are a number of things that I believe are inherently governmental that are currently being done by private sector vendors that are better served in a government-owned, government-controlled facility, particularly as it relates to security and credentials.

One of the areas that, if we had the authority to do, which we presently do not have, I would love to be able to use our excess capacity in passport production to produce passports for other countries.

In order to do that, we'd to have specific authority or have the State Department host the other countries. But that's an area where, for example, we could provide some great value and it would keep our folks gainfully employed and fully enabled.

SEN. NELSON: Well, if you've got excess capacity, one of the best things you can do is find a use for it.

And perhaps you might think about putting a plan of that sort together. We'd be more than happy to continue to talk to you about it, and perhaps there's something that could be established to do that very thing.

I don't know whether you would, or Mr. Dodaro would want to take a look at that as well. Certainly we ought to maximize whatever capacity we have, particularly in a down economy.

MR. DODARO: We'd be happy to take a look at that. We've looked at the security surrounding the passports, both in terms of being able to get them with falsified documents as well as the securities of the chips that Bob has been talking about. So we'd be happy to look at the demand issue as well for you.

SEN. NELSON: Yeah, and come up with maybe some path forward on what kind of authority would be required. We can take a look at it, at the very least. So --

Well, I want to thank the witnesses.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: Mr. Chairman?

SEN. NELSON: Yes, Senator Murkowski?

SEN. MURKOWSKI: I just realized there was one final question that I have not yet asked.

SEN. NELSON: Sure.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: I apologize.

And this relates, Mr. Tapella, to the information technology request, the 18.5 million (dollars). And it's my understanding that these initiatives that are contained in this IT request have been requested in prior years, but they haven't been funded.

Can you let me know why is it important that we do them now, what the impact of continuing to defer some or all of these to a future year might be? I just want to understand.

Because what -- 18.5 million (dollars) is not unreasonable in terms of a technology request, but if you've been able to get by without it, what would be the impact of continued deferral?

MR. TAPELLA: Number one, as we have looked at prior-year requests, we requested typically the amount for the entire project.

And what we have done is we've broken those down, and in many ways, we have funded the first phases of these through retained earnings when we didn't receive direct appropriations for the purposes.

As we look at FDsys, the Committee previously had been very supportive by allowing us to use prior funds -- prior-year, unobligated congressional printing and binding funds -- to fund FDsys. And that's the whole reason that we were able to release it this year.

The remaining $8 million, we need to complete the functionality of FDsys, to take it from where it is today to the complete functionality. We still have a two-year road map of releases for FDsys.

And if we don't have the funding, and particularly in GPO's current financial state, we will not have the retained earnings to fund it out of our revolving fund, as we had in some prior years.

So FDsys would probably stop with its existing functionality, should we not get the funding levels we need.

As it relates to the Composition Replacement System, that's something that we use for both Congress and for the Federal Register; those are our prime areas.

We've already committed the first $2 million for it from our revolving fund, and it was retained earnings from the products and services we sell to other agencies. We expect the total project to cost $5 million.

Since we use it significantly for congressional products, or at least 50-50, we believe that Congress should be paying for their share of it. And actually, under the law, they really should as well because it falls into the Anti-Deficiency Act in terms of using funds for its intended purpose.

That's going to be done in three releases. The first release will be completed about one year after the initial award, and we're ready to go out with an RFP probably within the next month or so.

And we've got enough money for this first phase. If we don't get the money this year to continue it, it's going to go on hold.

As we look at the Oracle systems, we're in an interesting situation for our transformation. Transformation began in 2003, really. We are now six years into it, and we have had to replace all of our systems.

We were on old mainframe systems. They're legacy systems; they are no longer supported.

And this year we're running in duality. We have our new Oracle system; we're still running some mainframe systems. We have the new FDsys; we're still running GPO Access.

When it relates to our financial systems, if we do not have the funding to continue Oracle, we're going to have to continue basically paying double for our overhead in those related areas, and we will not see the benefits of such a system. And I think that's really critical.

As it is, we're probably looking at another year or two in duality just with where we are in funding levels. And if we don't get the funding, it is going to be four, five, six years, which means at the end of the day, you're still paying for it, because we're going to have to charge more for congressional printing and binding if we have significantly greater overhead.

And so it's sort of a win-win/lose-lose. You pay, one way or the other.

SEN. MURKOWSKI: Thank you. I appreciate that, Mr. Chairman.

SEN. NELSON: Thank you.

I want to thank the witnesses today for attending our hearing.

The Subcommittee will stand in recess until 2:30 p.m. on June 4th, 2009, when we'll meet to take testimony on the fiscal year 2010 budget request of the Library of Congress and the Open World Leadership Center.

(Strikes gavel.) We're adjourned.


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