Herrera Beutler Remarks at FY23 Legislative Branch Full Committee Markup
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I appreciate Chairman Ryan working with you on the Legislative Branch Bill, it’s really been a pleasure. Chair and Ranking Member Granger, I appreciate the chance to get to work with you all on this tiny, but mighty subcommittee.
The recommendation for the fiscal year 2023 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill provides $5.7 billion, excluding funding for Senate programs.
The bill includes investments in the modernization of outdated systems in the House of Representatives that will shape our ability to serve our constituents more effectively. It supports streamlining the legislative drafting process to help facilitate collaboration between Members, committees, and the Office of Legislative Counsel. If you have ever actually tried to drop a bill in the hopper, you know exactly how frustrating that process can be. It also encourages the implementation of new electronic systems to increase efficiency in the House as well as provide greater visibility for the public on the operations of the People’s Chamber.
This legislation reflects the reality of what has happened to the seat of democracy over the last two years. It allows the Capitol Police to evolve and keep pace with the complex challenges the department now faces in fulfilling its critical mission. The increase allows for the adequate staff, training, and resources these responsibilities require as they continue to protect Members of Congress, our staff, and visitors to the Capitol campus.
The bill provides the Architect of the Capitol the resources necessary to ensure the Capitol campus is safe, open, and welcoming to all who work, live, and visit here by addressing critical infrastructure upgrades and executing recommended security upgrades.
The increases for the Architect and Capitol Police are justifiable, but with any significant increase, Congress must be extremely thoughtful in the way these projects are executed and insist on aggressive oversight over the funds being provided.
I support the resources and directives needed to safely re-open the Capitol complex and modernize the agencies Congress depends on. However, this legislation comes with a very steep 20.1% increase in spending from FY22, which in and of itself was a 13% increase, and includes many controversial provisions. During a time of economic uncertainty throughout the country, Congress should be setting an example of fiscal responsibility, and instead, the Legislative Branch is boasting a 20% increase. In addition, the legislation contains directives that polarize the priorities of this committee and the Congress. Therefore, I cannot support this bill in its current form, but I do remain hopeful we can continue to work together as the process moves forward – much in the same way we did in the last bill.
Thank you again, Chair DeLauro, Ranking Member Granger, Chairman Ryan, and thank you to the staff, Faye Cobb, and Michelle Reinshuttle, for all your efforts in putting this bill together.
I yield back to the gentleman from the state that produced eight U.S. presidents. Not one woman though, the ninth time is the charm.