The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2014 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 $3.2 billion, $113 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. Funding for House of Representative offices continue the cuts made under sequestration, resulting in a total reduction of 14.4% since Republicans gained control of the House in January 2011.
"The Capitol is not only a symbol of American government, but a working, active, and highly visited complex that requires significant upkeep to keep it safe, operating efficiently, and accessible to the public. This legislation funds the core operations of the Capitol and its personnel, but also continues targeted reductions to save taxpayer dollars wherever possible. With this bill, Members of the House of Representatives will have reduced our own office budgets by 17.6% over the last three years -- leading by example when it comes to reducing federal spending and reining in our deficits," House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
Congressman Rodney Alexander, Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, stated, "The economic situation we find ourselves in today is both unique and difficult, but it did not happen overnight. Now, we must recognize the fiscal constraints we are under and find opportunities to stretch the dollar further. Over the course of meetings and hearings with agency heads since the start of the year, this Subcommittee has listened to all who presented their respective concerns and budget requests. Still, we have to make critical decisions, prioritize programs, and cut what is deemed least effective and least beneficial to the taxpayers. The legislation put forth by this Subcommittee reflects these tough, but practical choices that will allow our agencies to operate in an efficient manner."
House Operations -- The bill contains $1.2 billion to fund the operations of the House -- maintaining the level put into place by sequestration, which is $54 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. 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. This reduction continues the trend of asking House Members to do more with less, but ensures that offices have the resources needed to serve the people they represent, and keeps the doors of the Capitol open to the public as they always have been.
Capitol Police -- The bill funds the Capitol Police at $329 million, a decrease of $9.4 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and $8.3 million above the current levels caused by sequestration. This funding level supports 1,734 sworn officers and 353 civilian workers who provide critical safety and security functions for all Members, staff, and visitors of the Capitol Complex. This total will prevent any furloughs that could cause potentially dangerous lapses in the security of the buildings and those who work in and visit the Complex.
Architect of the Capitol (AoC) -- The legislation provides $508 million for the AoC, which is $15.6 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. The bill will fund essential projects that protect and promote the safety and health of those who visit and work in the Capitol Complex, including deferred maintenance projects. This also includes $16 million in funding to continue the next phase of the Capitol Dome restoration project, and $70 million for the Historic Buildings Trust Fund to maintain historically significant structures within the Capitol Complex.
Library of Congress (LoC) -- The legislation provides $557 million for the Library of Congress, a decrease of $30.7 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. This includes funding for LoC personnel salaries and expenses, the Copyright Office, the Congressional Research Service, collections for the blind and physically handicapped, and other LoC programs and operations.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) -- The bill contains $486 million in funding for the GAO, a decrease of $20 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. This funding level is sufficient to continue the essential work of the GAO to provide Congress with accurate, nonpartisan reporting of how taxpayer dollars are spent.
Government Printing Office (GPO) -- The legislation includes $115 million for GPO, a cut of $4 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. The legislation continues reductions to Congressional printing and binding services, and implements limitations on delivery of documents to individual Member offices in order to reduce excess costs and waste of both taxpayer dollars and paper and other materials.
The subcommittee draft text of the bill, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY2014-LegBranch-LegBranch.pdf