Appropriations Committee Releases the Fiscal Year 2012 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2012 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, which is $227 million – or 6.4% - below last year’s level and $472 million – or 12% – below the request.
“Congress must lead by example when it comes to reducing government spending to put our nation’s budgets on a more sustainable path. This bill will reduce House leadership, Member, and Committee budgets by over 6%. This cut reflects our willingness to cut spending starting in our own backyards, while maintaining essential operations and security efforts to ensure the safe and productive operations of the Capitol for the thousands of people that work in and visit the Capitol complex every day,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
Congressman Ander Crenshaw, Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, stated, “Congress has asked every agency in the federal government to rein in spending and do more with less, and we should do the same. Through formal hearings, a number of informal meetings, and listening to all the agencies we oversee, we have carefully determined what we can afford and what we can’t and still remain safe and operational. This Subcommittee has looked at the facts, set priorities, and made tough choices. Across this country, Americans take these steps with their own budgets each and every day and expect Congress to do the same.”
The subcommittee draft text of the bill, please visit: /UploadedFiles/LEG-FY2012_xml.pdf
For a table comparing the bill to last year’s level and the President’s request, please visit: /UploadedFiles/FY_2012_Leg_Branch_Summary_Table.pdf
House Operations – The bill contains $1.2 billion to fund the operations of the House – a decrease of $84.7 million below last year’s level and $107 million below the request. Counting this reduction, total funding for the House of Representatives has been reduced by over 10% since the beginning of the new Republican majority.
This account provides funding for Members’ Representational Allowances (MRAs), which pay Member’s staff salaries and office expenses including franked mail, leadership and Committee office expenses, and 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.
Architect of the Capitol (AoC) – The legislation provides $489 million for the AoC, which is $36 million below last year’s level and $129 million below the request. Within this funding, priority is given to projects that protect and promote the safety and health of staff and visitors. In addition, this funding will help address critical deferred maintenance projects, and make smart and prudent investments to promote energy savings.
Capitol Police – The bill maintains funding for the Capitol Police at last year’s level of $340 million, making the Capitol Police the only agency within the bill without significant funding reductions. 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.
Library of Congress (LoC) – Included in the legislation is $575 million for the Library of Congress – a reduction of $53 million below last year and $91 million below the request. This provides funding for salaries and expenses, the Copyright Office, the Congressional Research Service, and other LoC programs and operations. Given the necessity of cutting spending across the government, the bill makes tough choices to reduce LoC costs, including allowing buyouts to reduce staffing levels and reductions in the purchases of new books and library materials.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) – The bill contains $511 million in funding for the GAO, a reduction of $35 million below last year’s level and $45 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, while cutting spending for additional hiring, travel, support contracts, and other lower-priority activities.
Government Printing Office (GPO) – The legislation includes $113 million for the GPO, a reduction of $22 million below last year’s level on $35 million below the request. The bill recommends changes to Congressional printing and binding services to cut spending, and encourages the GPO to find savings through limiting new hires, leasing empty building space, and restricting travel and awards.