Chair DeLauro Statement at Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2023 Legislative Branch Funding Bill

2022-06-22 16:17

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2023 Legislative Branch bill:

Thank you, Chairman Ryan and Ranking Member Herrera Beutler, for what is really a profound commitment to this bill. And thank you to the subcommittee staff for making it possible, including Faye Cobb, Elizabeth Lapham, and Ryann Kinney from the majority. I also thank Michelle Reinshuttle from the minority. Thank you very, very much for the work that you do.

We all know here, that this subcommittee is critical to the growth and progress of our democracy. Our work is strengthening our government and its capacity to serve the American people, so I thank you again for your dedication.

This Legislative Branch bill before us comes at a critical moment in time. On January 6, 2021, our nation understood more fully than ever before that our democracy is fragile. And now, more than a year later, we continue to learn more about that terrible day from the findings of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack. This bill will continue to change the Capitol Complex and culture to protect the Capitol and those who work in and visit these hallowed halls.

The Legislative Branch subcommittee held 10 hearings this year, including on the security of the Capitol campus since the insurrection and on the budget request and developing needs of the Capitol Police. These hearings, and the reality of our changing threats, inform much of the work this subcommittee is doing and the $5.7 billion investments in this bill.

Firstly, the bill provides $105.6 million in increased funding for the Capitol Police. With this funding and the Committee report alongside it, we are providing substantial resources to support our Capitol Police. In fact, they deserve our respect and our support, and our resources. We also further want to enhance the security posture of the Capitol complex, and protect Members, staff, and visitors.

We are also making an over $532 million investment in the Architect of the Capitol to support significant enhancements to the physical security of our buildings. And with $38.8 million for the Sergeant at Arms, we are supporting initiatives that will enhance Members’ personal security.

These increases, and the long overdue changes that will be made as a result of them, are based on independent security recommendations and signal our commitment to putting in place the measures that keep our buildings, staff, and visitors, and, consequently, our democracy safe.

While we support Members, congressional staff, and their offices with enhanced security measures, we are also ensuring they have the funding they need to best serve the constituents who put them here. After a decade of disinvestment, the 2022 government funding package provided historic investments in the resources staff need to serve the people we represent. This bill builds on those achievements and provides wellness and professional support to ensure we can recruit and retain a talented and diverse workforce.

But the investments in staff do not end with permanent employees. We are ensuring congressional interns receive the livable wage they deserve by providing over $24 million to expand the House paid internship program by providing nearly $47,000 for each Member office, an increase of $11,800. Providing interns a livable wage will enable more young people – especially those who represent the diversity that is so central to our nation – to gain the on-the-job experience of interning in Congress, which helps to ensure our future workforce is more diverse as well. This bill also includes language allowing Dreamers to work in Congressional and other Legislative Branch offices.

And finally, we are providing significant resources to modernize Congress. With $10 million for the House Modernization Initiatives Account, we are making the House more effective, efficient, and transparent. And with information technology, cybersecurity, more digitalization, and other critical developments, we are modernizing the Legislative Branch agencies that support our work.

These investments continue the important work we have already done to make the Capitol safer and to sustain our democracy for the future. I will continue to advocate for the funding in this bill which prioritizes our safety, diversity, and progress, in turn making us better equipped to serve those who put us here to do so.

Once again, I want to again thank Chairman Ryan and Ranking Member Herrera Beutler and all the subcommittee Members for their work. I urge support for this important bill.

117th Congress