Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Full Committee Markup of FY 2020 Legislative Branch Funding Bill

2019-05-09 08:44

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2020 Legislative Branch bill:

Thank you, Chairman Ryan and Ranking Member Herrera-Beutler, for your work on this bill. I also want to thank Legislative Branch subcommittee staff for their hard work in drafting this bill.

House Democrats are leading the way to fight for the people, and our appropriations bills reflect these values. We are investing in good governance and our institutions—and that includes the People’s House.

The Fiscal Year 2020 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill is an example of this commitment. By providing more than $3.9 billion in funding, this bill would ensure that members of Congress can effectively work on behalf of their constituents and that the public can safely visit the Capitol campus. 

The bill would fully fund the important work of the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights at the requested level of $6.3 million. Harassment and discrimination have no place in Congressional offices, and we must continue to support implementation of reforms mandated by the Congressional Accountability Act. We have a responsibility to create a safe, inclusive, and supportive work environment for all employees of the Legislative Branch.

An internship is one of the best ways to get a foot in the door on Capitol Hill and understand the workings of a congressional office. Last year, this committee took substantial steps to provide every congressional office funds to pay interns, and the FY 2020 bill builds on that effort by increasing funding to $25,000 per office.

The bill would also honor the rights of DACA recipients who wish to serve in the legislative branch. DACA recipients have a legal right to work in the United States and contribute to our economy and our communities. It is well past time they be able to contribute to the business of Congress as well.

I am also supportive of the very creative initiatives at the Library of Congress. As the Library moves through the process of crafting a plan for revitalized visitor spaces, I know we will continue to be their partner.    

Finally, the bill would revive the Office of Technology Assessment, improving the workings of Congress by providing analysis on the latest technologies and objective information on how emerging technologies impact policy.

Together, the initiatives in this bill would strengthen this institution. I would like to once again thank the Legislative Branch Chairman and Ranking Member, and I look forward to continuing to work with you all as the bill progresses.

116th Congress