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

2022-06-15 11:30

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee's markup of its fiscal year 2023 bill:

Thank you, thank you both. To you, Mr. Chairman and to Ranking Member Herrera Beutler, for the great collaboration between the two of you and the commitment to the bill that is before us. It is not possible without your effort and without the work of our staff, so thank the Legislative Branch subcommittee staff for all their efforts in drafting the bill.

The legislation this subcommittee put together is critical to the growth and the progress of our nation’s democracy. Over the past few years, as a country and as a congressional community, we have endured incredibly trying times, especially on January 6, 2021. After a violent mob attacked us and our democracy, we responded in force to protect it. The memories of that day continue to haunt us and inform much of the work this Committee has done since. This great bill before us builds on the important work that has been done in so many vital ways.  

This bill and the Committee report provide significant resources to enhance the security of the Capitol complex and to protect Members, staff, and visitors. The legislation would provide an increase of more than $105 million above 2022 for the Capitol Police. This would allow for the hiring of over 2,100 sworn officers and 567 civilian members as the Capitol Police continues to strengthen and support its workforce. The Capitol Police will enhance its security measures, upgrade equipment, and develop initiatives to make the workforce more transparent, more diverse, and better trained to deal with de-escalation and racial biases. And to continue to support our officers, we are funding wellness programs, professional development, and routine employment reviews. 

Alongside the funding for the Capitol Police, increased investments in the Architect of the Capitol will support significant enhancements to the physical security of the Capitol Complex.

Our democracy only works to its fullest potential if Congress and our staff can fully support the people that put us here to serve. This bill provides a cost-of-living adjustment to the Members Representational Allowance (MRA), the operating budget for congressional offices. This builds on our historic investment in the 2022 government funding package, which increased the MRA by 21 percent after a decade of disinvestment, to ensure Congress can recruit and retain talented and more diverse staff, which, in turn, helps all of us serve our constituents. This is coupled with efforts to once and for all provide congressional interns a livable wage, with $24.3 million to expand paid internship opportunities, providing an increase of $11,800 per Member office. Far too many potential interns – particularly from working- and middle-class families – are financially unable to accept unpaid roles, and this funding will ensure they can now serve. In that vein, this bill includes language allowing Dreamers to work in Congressional offices. 

The bill also provides $10 million for the House Modernization Initiatives Account, an increase of $8 million. These significant resources to modernize Congress will make our body more effective, efficient, and transparent on behalf of all the American people. 

I am so proud of all of these initiatives, which, when you take them together, they strengthen, they sustain this institution and our democracy, because Congress and our democracy are strongest and most resilient when we prioritize safety, diversity, and progress.

So I thank, once again, the Chair and the Ranking Member for all of the work they have done to put this bill together. I encourage everyone to support it and look forward to working with you as we move to the full committee. 

117th Congress