Chairman Lungren, Ranking Member Brady, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to update you on the Permanent Select Committee's use of its budget authority in the first session of the 112th Congress and its projected use in the second session.
Given the current challenging fiscal environment, the Committee has worked hard to achieve greater efficiencies when conducting our important work overseeing our nation's Intelligence Community. As you know, The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence fulfills two critical roles designed to ensure the government's successful, continued conduct of intelligence activities. First, our Committee serves as a connection between the classified business of intelligence and the American people. Second, the Committee strives to ensure that the men and women of the Intelligence Community have the resources, capabilities, and authorities they need to keep our country safe. In short, strong and effective oversight contributes to the successful conduct of intelligence activities.
We have reviewed our committee's expenditures, and we are pleased to report that during the first session of this Congress, the Committee successfully absorbed the 5% reduction from our funding in the last Congress as reflected in our authorized budget. Additionally, we estimate that the Committee will return approximately $200,000 of its authorized budget to U.S. taxpayers.
Finally, the Ranking Member and I believe that we will continue this success and will be able to absorb the additional 6.4% decrease during the second session.
The Committee was authorized $5,153,750 for the first session of the 112th Congress. The funds enabled the Committee to hold nearly 100 events, including hearings, briefings, roundtables with key leaders in intelligence, and off-sites to important facilities. The Committee also continues to recruit and retain a highly qualified, experienced, and cleared staff. But we recognize the challenging fiscal environment the country now faces and have adjusted accordingly. While the Committee is authorized to fill up to 44 staff positions, we have achieved cost savings by only filling those vacancies that are necessary to fulfill the Committee's mission. At present, the Committee's twenty members are served by thirty staff to include nineteen majority staff, eight minority staff, and three support staff. Although we have not hired to capacity, we maintain the flexibility to hire additional staff should circumstances require, budget permitting.
Additionally, the Committee continues to see efficiencies gained from previous improvements to its information technology systems. These improvements have allowed us to reduce expenditures for equipment while continuing to ensure the safe processing, dissemination, and retention of Committee documents and communications, as well as classified information received from the Executive Branch.
Mr. Chairman, the Committee requested and received a budget for the 112th Congress that is significantly less than the Committee's budget from previous years. We have absorbed this decrease by working hard, finding efficiencies, and focusing on our core mission. We are proud of the work we do overseeing the intelligence community and ensuring they have the resources and authorities they need to keep America safe.
Thank you for allowing the Ranking Member and me to update you on the Committee's budget status for the 112th Congress. We welcome any questions the Committee might have.