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Public Statements

Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2010 - Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. MURKOWSKI. That is correct, and it was a topic of discussion during the subcommittee hearings. Citations from the Office of Compliance are requiring certain actions by the Architect of the Capitol that don't always make sense. We found that the legislative branch is held to a higher standard than the executive branch and the private sector, and certain standards and timelines are applied that would not be applied outside the legislative branch, particularly to historic buildings.

As I said in our hearing with the Architect of the Capitol and Office of Compliance, I am completely supportive of having strong fire and life safety standards, but applying a ``gold standard'' to the legislative branch doesn't seem to be appropriate. We need to be pragmatic, and operate within a risk-based framework. In some cases, we have been asked to fund expensive projects by the AOC that simply aren't a good use of taxpayer dollars and don't necessarily offer significant improvements in fire and life safety.

Senator NELSON and I asked GAO to work with us to suggest how we could get the legislative branch on par with the executive branch and private sector. This language is the result of those discussions.

Mr. GRASSLEY. I agree that this provision should not lead to unnecessary expenditures and that we should examine this provision. However, I'm concerned the current revision in S. 1294 goes a bit too far by completely striking the compliance date. In fact I am informed the Office of Compliance, the entity in charge of enforcing the CAA has expressed concerns with completely striking this provision and instead recommends a selective amendment.

Out of the interest of saving time on the Senate floor, I will withhold an amendment to strike or modify this provision if the distinguished ranking member is willing to commit to working with me on this provision to make sure the revision is as narrow as possible as recommended by the Office of Compliance.

Ms. MURKOWSKI. I would agree to work with the ranking member of the Finance Committee, to work with the chairman of this subcommittee, Senator NELSON, and attempt to address his concerns as this bill moves forward.

Mr. GRASSLEY. I thank the distinguished ranking member and look forward to working with her and the chairman to narrow this provision and address the concerns expressed by the Office of Compliance.

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