I'm pleased to call to order the first hearing for fiscal year 2013 of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations. The total fiscal year 2013 budget request that we will consider is $3.523 billion, and represents a $155 million increase, or 4.6% over current funding levels. This is exclusive of the Senate and the Senate Office Buildings which total $990 million.
Continuing with the tradition of comity, those items will be considered by the other body.
This Subcommittee is tasked with determining the level of funding Congress needs while ensuring accountability for its own spending and maintaining the ability to justify this spending to our constituents.
I recognize the Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill is the smallest of the annual Appropriations bills, one half of one percent of all discretionary appropriations spending, but I respect the fact that it presents a unique set of challenges and concerns.
It is worth noting that since January 2011, when the Republicans took the majority in the House that Legislative Branch spending, excluding the Senate items, has been reduced by over $290 million dollars, or 8 percent, and within those amounts we have reduced 513 FTE's (full-time equivalents) resulting in a
salary and benefits savings of over $54 million dollars annually.
Those cuts have not come without some pain and I'm sure that all the Members of the Committee are fully aware of the pain. When you consider the fact that our National Debt is over $15 trillion dollars, everyone can be assured that we will continue to do our part, however small considering the whole scheme of things,
to reduce spending within the Legislative Branch.
I look forward to working with the gentleman from California, our Ranking Member Mike Honda. We have had nothing but a fantastic relationship thus far and I expect it to continue. I also want to welcome the other Members of the Subcommittee -- Steve LaTourette, Jo Ann Emerson the Vice Chair of the
Subcommittee, Dennis Rehberg, Ken Calvert, David Price and Sanford Bishop.
The first agency that we will hear from is the Library of Congress. The Library's fiscal year 2013 request is $604 million. This is an increase of $16 million or 2.8 percent above fiscal year 2012.
I would like to welcome Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress and Mr. Robert Dizard, Chief of Staff.