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