The House today approved the fiscal year 2012 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, providing annual funding for the offices of Members of the House of Representatives, the support agencies of Congress, services for visitors, and Capitol operations and maintenance.
The total included for the House and joint operations is $3.3 billion, which is $227 million (-6.4%) below last year's level and $472 million (-12.4%) below the request. Nearly every legislative branch office and agency -- save the Capitol Police -- will take at least a 6.4% cut, including the offices of Members of Congress, leadership, and Committees.
"Our constituents asked us to get our fiscal house in order, and we are leading by example with this legislation. We all have to share in the sacrifice during this financial crisis, and this bill shows that we are doing our part to help our nation dig itself out of dangerous, job-killing debt so that we can get our economy back on track," Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
Congressman Ander Crenshaw, Chairman of the Legislation Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, said, "While the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill is the smallest of the annual Appropriations bills, it presents a unique set of challenges and concerns, particularly in these tough economic times. Congress has asked all federal government agencies to rein in spending and do more with less. This budget takes the current economic climate to heart and begins in our own backyard with a 6.4% cut to Member, Committee, and leadership offices. We all must share in the task of getting our fiscal house in order. Americans make these decisions day in and day out and expect Congress to do the same."
A summary of House passed amendments to the FY 2012 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill follows:
Honda (D-CA) The amendment transfers $1,000,000 from Member Transition Activities funds to the Capitol Police to establish a Security Fund for Member's District Office Security upgrades. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Hayworth (R-NY)/Gosar (R-AZ) The amendment cuts funding for the Botanic Garden by $632,780, and adds the funds to the Spending Reduction Account. The Botanic Garden has proven its ability to use tax dollars in a cost-effective and efficient way to provide beneficial educational opportunities to millions of Americans who visit the facility every year. However, given the current U.S. financial crisis, difficult cuts are necessary. While this cut will be difficult for the agency to absorb, it is sustainable this year. The amendment was passed on vote of 299-112.
Altmire (D-PA) The amendment intends to set aside $1,000,000 from the Library of Congress Salaries and Expenses account for the De-acidification Program. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Stutzman (R-IN) The amendment cuts the Government Printing Office (GPO) by $4,946,140.80, and adds the funds to the Spending Reduction Account. The amendment passed on a vote of 218-194.
Paulsen (R-MN)/Miller (R-MI) The amendment prohibits funding for the distribution of printed legislation to members offices unless a member requests the legislation. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Paulsen (R-MN)/Miller (R-MI) The amendment prohibits funding to distribute printed copies of the Congressional Record to member offices. Members would still be able to pick up hard copies at the Legislative Resource Center. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Hanna (R-NY) The amendment prohibits funding for the Chief Administrative Officer of the House to make any payments from any Members' Representational Allowance (MRA) for the leasing of a vehicle in an amount that exceeds $1,000 in any month. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Final Passage -- The FY 2012 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill passed on a vote of 252-159.