Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2021 Legislative Branch Funding Bill

July 6, 2020
Press Release
Legislation increases discretionary funding by $207 million from enacted 2020 level

WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft fiscal year 2021 Legislative Branch funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation funds the Legislative Branch of the U.S. government, including the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressional Budget Office, and Capitol Police. 

The bill appropriates a total of $4.198 billion, $207 million, or 5.2 percent, above the FY 2020 enacted level. In keeping with longstanding practice whereby each chamber of Congress determines its own housekeeping requirements and the other concurs without intervention, the bill does not include funds for the Senate or for Senate office buildings. 

The FY 2021 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill provides the House of Representatives with increased resources to carry out its responsibilities in developing legislation, conducting oversight, and assisting constituents in their interactions with the Federal Government. 

The bill also maintains and builds analytical capacity to support lawmaking and oversight, addresses high-priority needs involving information technology and security, and supports Legislative Branch agencies such as the Library of Congress and the Government Accountability Office in their wider roles of service to the nation.

“I’m proud to release this bill, which serves as a down payment on the modernization of the House of Representatives and ensures we can continue to serve our constituents efficiently and effectively. I am pleased that this legislation increases transparency for United States Capitol Police, provides additional funding for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and includes a $25 million increase for Members to hire and retain the staff needed to serve our constituents,” said House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Ryan (D-OH). “Finally, I am especially proud that this funding bill allows DACA recipients to work in the halls of Congress. The United States is the only country Dreamers have ever known. These young people deserve to work here, and the House of Representatives will be a better institution because of their service.”

“This bill makes key investments in the Legislative Branch – from funding for House modernization initiatives to increased resources for diversity and inclusion efforts – to better reflect and meet the needs of the diverse communities we serve,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey. “Strong funding will also support a talented workforce essential to the legislative process and will expand opportunities for more young Americans eager to serve their country through funding for paid internships and a pathway to employ Dreamers.”

A summary of the draft fiscal year 2021 Legislative Branch funding bill is below. The full text of the bill is here. The subcommittee markup will be webcast live and linked from https://appropriations.house.gov/events/markups

Bill Summary:

House of Representatives – The bill provides a total of $1.477 billion in discretionary appropriations for the House of Representatives, an increase of $111 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.

  • $640 million for the Members Representational Allowance (MRA), the basic office budgets of House Members, an increase of $25 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.
     
  • $11.4 million in funding for paid interns for Member and Leadership offices.  This allowance helps extend internship opportunities to people who may not be financially able to take an unpaid position.
     
  • $162.8 million for the operations of House committees, a $3 million increase.  This appropriation will cover the funding allocated to committees for 2020 by the biennial funding resolution adopted by the House in the 1st session of the 116th Congress (H. Res. 245).
     
  • $29 million for the Democratic and Republican House Leadership, equal to the FY 2021 request.
     
  • $254.8 million for the salaries and expenses of House officers and employees, including the offices of the Clerk of the House, Sergeant at Arms, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Parliamentarian, and Legislative Counsel, among others., an increase of $23 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.
     
  • $2 million for the newly created House Modernization Initiatives Account to make Congress more effective, efficient, and transparent on behalf of the American people.
     
  • $1.5 million for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, an increase of $500,000 above both FY 2020 and the FY 2021 request.

Other Agencies

  • $664.3 million for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an increase of $34.3 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.  This level will allow the GAO to sustain recent increases in staffing, including for the Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics Team, to handle its large workload, and to begin to address its information technology and building renovation needs.
     
  • $57.3 million for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), an increase of $2.4 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.  This funding allows CBO to increase its efforts to improve modeling and analytical capability in key areas and to make its work as transparent and accessible as possible.
      
  • $752.8 million for the Library of Congress, including the Copyright Office, Congressional Research Service, and National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, an increase of $27.4 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.  This funding level will support urgent information technology needs, the modernization of systems for copyright registration and recordation, and ongoing Library initiatives such as the Veterans’ History Project.
     
    • The bill includes $10 million for the third installment of funding for the Library’s Visitor Experience initiative, subject to the Appropriations Committees’ review of the specific plans, cost estimates, and schedules for the initiative. It also includes $7.4 million for modernizing the website that handles distribution of audio and braille reading materials at the National Library Service for the Blind and for purchase of braille e-readers, and $5.5 million for continued collection preservation activities, subject to an external independent review of the most appropriate method of preservation.
       
  • $631.3 million for the Architect of the Capitol, $31.8 million above the fiscal year 2020 enacted level.  (These totals do not include appropriations for Senate Office Buildings, which as is customary are left to the sole consideration of the Senate.)  Funding includes $62 million to continue restoration of the Cannon House Office Building and nine other campus building projects. The bill supports additional staff for project management to ensure on-time, on-budget construction projects.
     
  • $464 million for the Capitol Police, equal to the FY 2020 enacted level. Included in the accompanying report are several measures to help bring more transparency to the Capitol Police.
     
  • $7.5 million for the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights, an increase of $1.2 million above FY 2020 to fulfill the Office’s new responsibilities in the Congressional Accountability Reform Act, including enforcing laws against discrimination and sexual harassment.

Employment of DACA Recipients – The bill includes language permitting the Legislative Branch agencies to employ Dreamers— residents of the United States brought to this country as children—who hold employment authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Removes Certain U.S. Capitol Statuary—The bill includes language directing the Architect of the Capitol to remove statues or busts in the U.S. Capitol that represent figures who participated in the Confederate Army or government, as well as the statues of individuals with unambiguous records of racial intolerance, Charles Aycock, John C. Calhoun, and James Paul Clarke, and the bust of Roger B. Taney. The Architect is instructed to work with the States who contributed Confederate statues to return them to the donor State.  

Member Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) — The bill continues a provision to prevent the automatic increase in the Cost of Living Increase for Members of Congress for fiscal year 2021. 

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116th Congress