PERMITTING LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS TO HIRE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS POLICE EMPLOYEES -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 08, 2004)
HON. JACK KINGSTON
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2004
Mr. KINGSTON. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of this resolution that will restore the Librarian's authority to hire Library of Congress police employees. And I would like to thank my distinguished colleague for bringing this important resolution to the floor.
Madam Speaker, for the past ten months, the Librarian has been without the authority to hire police officers. The result of which has been a significant deficit in the Library's ability to meet its security mission to protect the Library's vast collection and ensure the safety of Members, staff, and visitors in the Library. His authority was repealed in a provision inserted in the last year's conference report by the other body, which also mandated our own United States Capitol Police to detail their officers to the Library, even though the Capitol Police currently lack the jurisdictional authority to police the Library's buildings. This was done in an effort to circumvent the jurisdiction of the appropriate oversight committees who have been engaged in evaluating the merits of merging the two agencies and force the beginnings of a merger of the Library's police force and the U.S. Capitol Police.
The Chairman's committee has been performing his appropriate oversight by reviewing several draft memorandums between the Capitol Police and the Library outlining the detail of officers to the Library. During this process, a multitude of questions have risen to the surface regarding not only how to merge the agencies, but really whether the security of the Capitol complex would be improved if they did merge. I do not believe that there will be any measurable improvement in the overall security. I believe that it is merely a way for the Capitol Police to expand their jurisdiction. I do not support Capitol Police officers being detailed to the Library in what can only be interpreted as a pilot program for a merger. And I certainly do not support the current effort of the other body to merge the Library of Congress police with the Capitol Police.
Additionally, the time and attention being paid to fix the current situation that the Library and the Capitol Police have been put in is putting unnecessary strain on the agencies and distracting them from their primary missions during a crucial time.
Madam Speaker I agree with the Chairman Ney's comments that this growing need for officers at the Library is the Congress' own creation and we need to fix it. Madam Speaker it is vitally important to the security of the Capitol complex that we restore the Librarian's authority to hire police officers. And I will work to ensure that they have the necessary funds to train and pay the officers that will be hired to fill the current manpower gap. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution.