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Architect Of The Capitol Appointment Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 2843) to provide for the joint appointment of the Architect of the Capitol by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President pro tempore of the Senate, the majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate, and the chairs and ranking minority members of the committees of Congress with jurisdiction over the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, and for other purposes, as amended.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:
H.R. 2843

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Architect of the Capitol Appointment Act of 2010''.

SEC. 2. APPOINTMENT AND TERM OF SERVICE OF ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL.

(a) Appointment.--The Architect of the Capitol shall be appointed jointly by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President pro tempore of the Senate, the majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate, the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on House Administration of the House of Representatives, the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives, the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate, the chairs and ranking minority members of the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and Senate, a member of the Senate to be designated by the majority leader of the Senate, and a member of the Senate to be designated by the minority leader of the Senate.

(b) Term of Service.--The Architect of the Capitol shall be appointed for a term of 10 years, and may be reappointed for additional terms.

(c) Conforming Amendment.--Section 319 of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 1990 (2 U.S.C. 1801) is repealed.

(d) Effective Date.--This section shall apply with respect to appointments made on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Wasserman Schultz) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Daniel E. Lungren) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Florida.

GENERAL LEAVE

Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks in the Record on H.R. 2843.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from Florida?

There was no objection.

Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of H.R. 2843, the Architect of the Capitol Appointment Act. I thank the original cosponsors of this bipartisan legislation, including Ranking Member Representative Robert Aderholt of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee; Ranking Member Zach Wamp, who I want to thank especially for initially cosponsoring this legislation with me when he was the ranking member of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee; Representative Tom Latham, who is also a former ranking member of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee--Mr. Speaker, maybe it's me, since I keep losing ranking members on the other side of the aisle. And it has been a pleasure to work with all of these gentlemen--Representative Robert Brady, chairman of the Committee on House Administration, and his ranking member, Representative Dan Lungren, and of course former House Administration Ranking Member Vernon Ehlers.

This legislation effectively removes the appointment role of the Architect of the Capitol from the executive branch, placing it in the rightful hands of the legislative branch where it belongs.

Specifically, this bill provides for the joint appointment of the Architect of the Capitol by House and Senate leadership, both majority and minority, and the chairs and ranking members of each of the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction--including the Committees on Appropriations, House Administration, Senate Rules, and Transportation and Infrastructure.

This is a long overdue change. The Architect of the Capitol serves a legislative branch function and as such, he or she should be chosen by the legislative branch. By making this change, we can simplify a process that has caused unnecessary delays in choosing a permanent Architect.

Because of the delays in this process, we have had an Acting Architect in place since February of 2007. It is now February of 2010. And Mr. Hantman, the immediate past Architect, was appointed following a 2-year vacancy.

The Capitol campus is currently facing over $1 billion in deferred maintenance. We've been working diligently over the last several years to address that backlog, and the Architect has been very helpful in coordinating and addressing that backlog, but we need to make sure that we establish some permanence and some consistency. It's critically important that a permanent Architect is selected so that he or she can face these issues with an eye to the future.

It's our hope that this bipartisan legislation becomes law so that Congress can play a direct role in selecting the right candidates for a legislative branch position of significant importance like this one.

I ask for all Members' support in passing this vital legislation.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Lungren and Mr. Wamp. I couldn't have said it better myself.

It is incredibly important that we be good stewards of the Capitol complex and the facilities that we have the privilege to work in. It still amazes me every day when I walk up to the Capitol or past the Capitol when it's at night when it's all lit up or in the daytime. It's a structure that everyone who sees it marvels at it.

And it's our responsibility as the leaders of the, essentially, administrative committees that have responsibility for taking care of and funding the needs of the legislative branch to make sure that we are the ones that ultimately are held accountable and have the opportunity to coordinate the appointments of the Architect of the Capitol. It no longer makes sense--I am not sure that it ever made sense--to have the President of the United States be involved in what is essentially a legislative branch function, and it will make for a more efficient process and will enable us to preserve these facilities into the future for future generations.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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