May 17, 2016
The House Appropriations Committee today approved the fiscal year 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill. 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.
The following amendments to the bill were adopted by the full committee today:
Rep. Tom Graves – The manager’s amendment makes technical and non-controversial changes to the bill and report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Rep. Farr – The amendment provides an additional $8.3 million for the Members Representational Allowances account (1.5% increase), transferred from the Architect of the Capital Construction and Operations Fund. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
The bill was approved by the full committee on a voice vote.
For the text of the bill, please visit: /uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2017-legbranch-subcommitteedraft.pdf
For a summary of the legislation, please visit: /news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394506
For the bill report, please visit: /uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2017-legbranch.pdf