The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2013 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill provides 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 -- excluding Senate-only items -- is $3.3 billion, $34 million below last year's level and $190 million below the requested level. This continues the spending cuts from previous years, resulting in a 10.5% reduction in funding for the House of Representatives since Republicans gained control of the House in January 2011.
"The nation's budget challenges are far from over, and Congress must continue to lead by example and hold the reins on spending wherever possible, including in our own Capitol complex. At the same time, we must maintain the efficacy of the People's House, and ensure the safety and security of the thousands of people who work in and visit our historic buildings every day. This bill balances both of these needs," House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
Congressman Ander Crenshaw, Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, stated, "Americans are sending hard-earned dollars to Washington and deserve to know they are being cost-effectively spent. This Subcommittee has taken that philosophy to heart in hearings and meetings where members have listened to agency heads lay out their priorities and budget requests. We've made tough, but workable choices that will allow our agencies to move forward in an efficient manner."
The subcommittee draft text of the bill, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-112HR-SC-AP-FY13-LegislativeBranch.pdf
House Operations -- The bill contains $1.2 billion to fund the operations of the House -- maintaining the 6.4% cut put into place last year. This account provides funding for Members' Representational Allowances (MRAs), which funds leadership, Member, and committee office expenses, as well as operating costs for officers of the House. In addition, the bill allows any unspent funding in Members' office budgets to be used for deficit reduction at the end of the year.
Capitol Police -- The bill funds the Capitol Police at $360 million, an increase of $20 million over last year. The bill will support 1,775 sworn officers and 370 civilian positions, providing critical safety and security functions for all Members, staff, and visitors of the Capitol Complex. The report includes language to help ensure the safety and security of Members' district offices.
Architect of the Capitol (AoC) -- The legislation provides $444 million for the AoC, which is $52.5 million below last year's level and $145 million below the request. Within this funding, priority is given to projects that protect and promote the safety and health of those who visit and work in the Capitol complex, including deferred maintenance projects.
Library of Congress (LoC) -- Included in the legislation is $592 million for the Library of Congress, a 1% increase over last year's level. This provides funding for salaries and expenses, the Copyright Office, the Congressional Research Service, access to collections for the blind and physically handicapped, and other LoC programs and operations.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) -- The bill contains $520 million in funding for the GAO, an increase of $8.5 million above last year's level and $6.4 million below the request. This funding level will allow the continuation of the essential work of the GAO to provide Congress with an accurate reporting of how taxpayer dollars are spent.
Government Printing Office (GPO) -- The legislation includes $123 million for the GPO, a reduction of $3.6 million below last year's level and the request. The legislation continues to cut spending on Congressional printing and binding services.