April 19, 2016
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2017 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, security and police forces, services for visitors, and Capitol operations and maintenance.
The total included for the House and joint operations, excluding Senate-only items, is $3.48 billion. This is $73 million above the fiscal year 2016 level and $152 million below the President’s request. The slight increase in funds is directed to essential health and safety improvements to aging or damaged facilities to protect Members, staff, and visitors. In all, funding for the House of Representatives has been reduced by 14% since Republicans gained its control in January 2011.
The legislation also includes a provision to freeze the pay of Members of Congress, preventing any pay increases in fiscal year 2017. A freeze on the salaries of Representatives has been in place since 2010.
“Our Capitol complex houses the largest and most successful democracy the world has ever known. It is essential that Congress provide the resources needed to keep it functioning, safe, and accessible to all those who work or visit here, and maintain its image as a beacon of freedom around the world,” Chairman Hal Rogers said. “This legislation will target funds to critical operations to ensure effective representation of our citizens, while keeping a close eye on every tax dollar.”
Congressman Tom Graves, Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, also commented on the bill.
“The main focus of this legislation is to preserve the beauty, enhance the security and improve the institutions of the United States Capitol complex. Using a zero-based budgeting approach, in which each agency of the Legislative Branch was forced to justify its budget request from scratch, I’m pleased to report that we have accomplished our mission in a way that respects taxpayers,” Chairman Graves said.
“This bill also features a strong emphasis on making pro-family improvements to Capitol operations. I’ve asked the House to support pregnant staff members by allowing access to convenient parking spots. There is a bipartisan provision to add more baby changing tables to House bathrooms for young families visiting Capitol Hill. We are also carrying on the renewed tradition of sledding on Capitol Hill. While these items are minor compared to the initiatives under the Architect, Library and Capitol Police, they set a family friendly standard for the Capitol and make the People’s House a better place to work and visit. And with a strong focus on our constituents, we made sure that offices have the resources necessary to serve their districts well,” Graves continued.
House Operations – The bill contains $1.181 billion to fund the operations of the House – the same level as fiscal year 2016. This account provides funding for Members’ Representational Allowances (MRAs), leadership, committees and Officers of the House.
Member Pay Freeze – The legislation freezes pay for Members of Congress, preventing any pay increases in fiscal year 2017.
Capitol Police – The bill funds the Capitol Police at $391.3 million, an increase of $16.3 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. This will fund critical safety and enhanced security functions for all Members, staff, and visitors of the Capitol Complex, and maintain public access to the Capitol and its office buildings.
Architect of the Capitol (AoC) – The legislation provides $560 million for the AoC, which is $31 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. The legislation will allow the AoC to prioritize essential projects that promote the safety and health of those who visit and work in the Capitol Complex, and address deferred maintenance projects. This includes $30.8 million for the Rayburn House Office Building Garage Rehabilitation project and $10 million for the House Historic Buildings Revitalization Fund.
Library of Congress – The legislation provides $629 million for the Library of Congress, an increase of $29 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. Funding in this bill will support migration of the Library’s Primary Computing Facility to an alternate facility. The current facility can no longer provide the level of data center reliability and resiliency that is required to support LoC operations. Also included is funding for the Copyright Office’s ongoing modernization efforts.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) – The bill contains $533 million in funding for the GAO, $2.1 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. GAO provides critical oversight work – providing Congress with accurate, nonpartisan reporting of federal programs and tracking of how taxpayer dollars are spent.
Government Publishing Office (GPO) – The legislation includes $117 million for GPO, the same as the fiscal year 2016 enacted level.
For the complete text of the subcommittee draft of the FY 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, please visit: