June 9, 2016
Today, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement on the floor in support of H.R. 5325, the Fiscal Year 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5325, the Fiscal Year 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, which provides the important funding that Congress needs to do our work on behalf of the American people.
From maintaining the hallowed halls of this very building, to providing services for our constituents, to funding the agencies that keep us informed and in check, the $3.48 billion in this bill supports the largest and freest democracy the world has ever known.
In total, funding is increased slightly - $73 million above current levels. This increase is directed to essential health and safety improvements to aging or damaged facilities, as well as to the Capitol Police, to protect Members, staff, and visitors.
At the same time, this bill keeps the belt tight, continuing our trajectory of trimming funding for the House of Representatives by 13.2 percent since 2011 and extending the pay freeze for Members of Congress. The funds provided for House operations will allow Members of Congress to continue serving the American people to the fullest extent, and representing their voices in Washington, DC.
For the thousands upon thousands of people who enter the Capitol complex each day – be it visitors, staff, or Members themselves – safety is of the utmost importance.
As we have seen recently, the brave men and women of the Capitol Police force must remain vigilant and well-equipped to secure the Capitol Complex. The bill funds the Capitol Police at $391.3 million - $16.3 million above current levels to enhance security and maintain public access to the complex.
To ensure the safety of the buildings in the Capitol Complex, which as we know has historic but aging facilities, the legislation provides $551 million for the Architect of the Capitol. This includes ongoing rehabilitation projects, as well as deferred maintenance.
In addition, the bill provides funding for the congressional support agencies that we rely on each day to do our jobs. This includes $533 million for the Government Accountability Office, which provides Congress with accurate reporting on how tax dollars are spent, and $629 million for the Library of Congress.
This is a good bill that targets funds to critical operations while keeping a close eye on every tax dollar spent.
I want to thank Chairman Graves for his hard work to ensure that every tax dollar in this bill helps make the People’s House run efficiently and productively. I also want to thank the Ranking Member, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, and their subcommittee for their efforts that brought this bill to the floor today. Finally, I want to thank our staff for their knowledge and expertise throughout this process.
As we continue our important work on the 2017 appropriations bills, I’m proud to support good bills like this one, that fulfill their mission in a responsible, targeted way.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill as well, and I yield back.