H.R. 2843: Architect of the Capitol Appointment Act

H.R. 2843

Architect of the Capitol Appointment Act

Sponsor
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Date
February 3, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2843 on Wednesday, February 3, 2010, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 2843 was introduced on June 12, 2009, by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and referred to the Committee on House Administration, which held a mark-up and reported the bill by voice vote on November 4, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2843 would amend the process for appointing the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) by moving the responsibility of selecting the AOC solely to the legislative branch.  The bill would stipulate that the AOC shall be appointed jointly by the following individuals:

  • The Speaker of the House of Representatives;
  • The President pro tempore of the Senate;
  • The majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate;
  • The chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on House Administration of the House of Representatives;
  • The chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate; and
  • The chairs and ranking minority members of the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and Senate.

 

Under current law, these individuals compose a commission that makes recommendations on AOC appointments to the President, who makes the final nomination to the Senate.

 

Background

The current process for appointing the AOC was established in 1990 and requires the legislative commission to make a recommendation to the President, who then nominates a candidate for review and confirmation by the Senate.  According to House Report 111-372, the process was used in 1997 for the nomination of Alan Hartman, who was confirmed by the Senate and serve one ten-year term in office.  However, the House Report states that since Hartman's retirement on February 4, 2007, "the bicameral commission and the president have not been able to advance the process to the stage where a new nomination could be sent to the Senate."  The post of AOC has been vacant for three years and is currently being filled by acting AOC Stephen T. Ayers.  In 2008, the office of the AOC was involved in a controversy regarding a perceived lack of recognition of our nation's religious history in the Capitol Visitor's Center (CVC).  In a July 31, 2008 letter, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) and 107 cosigners stated that they were "troubled to learn in recent weeks that some aspects of the new CVC... [may] reflect an apathetic disposition toward our nation's religious history."

 

Cost

According to CBO, H.R. 2843 "would not have a significant impact on the federal budget."