Chairman Ryan Statement at Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2023 Legislative Branch Funding Bill
Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), Chair of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Appropriations Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2023 Legislative Branch bill:
I’m pleased to present the 2023 Appropriations Bill written by our Legislative Branch subcommittee. I very much appreciate the hard work and collegial attitude of all the members of this subcommittee, and particularly the contributions and cooperation of our Ranking Member Ms. Herrera-Beutler, it is a pleasure working with you.
This is a good bill. It reflects the participation and hard work of our subcommittee members, as well as good ideas we received from many sources, including our House colleagues and outside experts and advocates.
The Fiscal Year 2023 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill provides $5.7 billion – a 20.1 percent increase over the fiscal year 2022 enacted levels.
It is vital that we prioritize initiatives to expand a diverse and talented workforce on Capitol Hill. The bill provides $20.6 million to expand the House paid internship program – increasing the amount to $46,800 per Member office. Additionally, the bill creates a House Intern Resource Office, providing necessary resources to help create a pipeline for students from all backgrounds to come and work on Capitol Hill.
Additionally, this year’s bill makes important steps in exploring other areas where we can expand benefits for staff to compete with the private sector. This bill continues to focus on the importance of our staff’s wellness and provides funding for the Office of Employee Assistance and the Office of Well-Being to ensure staff have the resources they need to support needs of our community and to fund culturally sensitive mental health services, so everyone feels comfortable seeking the support they need.
Our bill continues to invest in the House Modernization Initiatives Account by providing $10 million, an $8 million increase, to make Congress more effective, efficient, and transparent on behalf of the American people.
At the same time, the bill includes $8 million for the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights, allowing them to increase staffing so that the office may provide resources in the ongoing efforts for staff unionization.
Protecting our nation’s Capital is paramount. This bill continues to make significant reforms and investments to strengthen the security of the House and surrounding Capitol Complex and to support the United States Capitol Police (USCP). Threats against Members have increased over the last two years, and this must not be taken lightly, nor will we take lightly the safety of our staff and citizens who travel far and wide to visit. Almost 70 percent of the Leg Branch increase is targeted towards security measures within the Sergeant at Arms, Architect of the Capitol and Capitol Police budgets.
This bill includes an increase of $576.2 million for the Architect of the Capitol. This increase addresses critical gaps in our security posture highlighted in various reports and assessments after the January 6th attack. This bill also includes funding to support our crumbling infrastructure. These buildings are old and in great need of repair. We can no longer defer maintenance to our utility tunnels, the west plaza of the Rayburn building, and construction activities for the Library’s storage facility out at Fort Meade to name a few. This bill also includes $31 million to continue construction on the Cannon House Office Building. This bill includes various other provisions to ensure the Capitol Visitor Center and Capitol Complex is accessible for individuals with disabilities and all visitors who wish to tour the Capitol or meet with their member of Congress.
The bill includes $105.6 million in increased funding for the Capitol Police, fully funding the request. This funding level is vital for Capitol Police training, recruitment, retention, readiness efforts and wellness support. This funding allows the department to continue building on recommended security enhancements and provides resources to continue work on de-escalation and racial bias training.
Turning to other Legislative Branch agencies, the bill increases investments in Congress’s analytical capacity.
Funding for CRS, GAO, and CBO has been increased, further expanding capabilities for quicker response times to congressional requests, science and technology assistance, and financial analysis.
The bill includes an increase of $37 million for the Library of Congress, as it is this subcommittee’s duty to protect the valuable collections and preserve the Library’s ability to chronicle this great nation and provide access to our history for generations to come.
And it includes $3.9 million to continue the Library’s work on the Veterans History Project to collect and preserve the personal accounts of American war veterans.
Finally, the bill includes language to permit DACA recipients to work for Congress and other Legislative Branch Agencies, language for the removal of statues or busts in the Capitol of those who tried to overthrow the government of the United States or were white supremacists, and language to prohibit the COLA for Members of Congress.
The lasting impacts of the global pandemic and the January 6th attack on our U.S. Capitol and law enforcement personnel continue to emphasize our responsibility to protect our nation’s Capital, so we can serve our constituents effectively. This legislation builds off the important progress we’ve made in hiring and retaining staff and continues to remove barriers to public service for all Americans.
Before I yield back, I would like to recognize the staff for all of the hard work and time they have put into this bill. From my own staff, I would like to recognize Rachel Jenkins. From the Majority Committee Staff I would like to thank Faye Cobb, Elizabeth Lapham, and Ryann Kinney. And, from the Minority Committee staff I would like to thank Michelle Reinshuttle.