CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 1299 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Robert Brady (D-PA) on March 4, 2009.
H.R. 1299 makes amendments to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 2001. The bill requires the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the Capitol Police to be hired without regard to political affiliation. Additionally, the Comptroller General would not need to be involved in the hiring of the CAO as is required under current law.
H.R. 1299 also clarifies administrative authorities of the Capitol Police CAO regarding pay scales, overtime compensation requirements, and certain other policies. It requires the CAO to give notice to Congress prior to hires, promotions and terminations, as well as before creating new positions or reorganizing current positions.
The bill also establishes a General Counsel to the Chief of Police and the U.S. Capitol Police. Finally, the bill repeals several obsolete provisions of Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 2001, such as requiring police officers to purchase their own uniforms.
This legislation is similar to another bill (H.R. 5972) which was passed by the House on June 4, 2008, by voice vote. The Senate never considered that bill.
The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) was founded in 1828. The force was charged with keeping Members of Congress safe and protecting the Capitol building. Over the years, the jurisdiction of the USCP has grown and the size of the force has greatly increased. Today's Capitol Police are charged with keeping the Capitol safe from terrorist attacks as well as other threats that emerge. There are currently about 1,600 Capitol Police employees under the direction of Chief of Police Philip Morse.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not yet produced a cost estimate for H.R. 1299. However, CBO estimated that last year's bill would have no impact on discretionary spending, direct spending, or revenues.