H.R. 5325, Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017

H.R. 5325

Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017

Sponsor
Rep. Tom Graves

Committee
Appropriations

Date
June 9, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Thursday, June 9, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 5325, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017, under a structured rule. The bill was introduced on May 25, 2016, by Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch.  The bill was ordered reported by the Committee on Appropriations, as amended, on May 17, 2016, by voice vote.

Bill Summary

.R. 5325 provides $3.48 billion in discretionary budget authority for the operations of the Legislative Branch of government, excluding Senate-only items. This is $73 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 level and $153 million below the President’s request. Funding for the House of Representatives has been reduced by 13% since Republicans gained the majority in January 2011.[1]

Specifically, the bill provides $1.19 billion for the operation and maintenance of the House of Representatives during Fiscal Year 2017. This amount is $8.3 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 level and $1.7 million below the budget request.[2]  The bill also includes a provision to freeze the pay of Members of Congress, preventing any pay increases in Fiscal Year 2017. A freeze on the salaries of Representatives has been in place since 2010.[3]

Major provisions of note include:

House Leadership Offices:            The bill provides $22.3 million for salaries and expenses of staff in House leadership offices for Fiscal Year 2017. This amount is the same as the Fiscal Year 2016 enacted level and is the same as the budget request.

Members’ Representational Allowances:            The bill provides $562.6 million for the representational allowances of the Members of the House (MRAs). This amount is $8.3 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 enacted level and $8.3 million above the budget request. This level of funding will allow the MRAs to operate at current authorized levels as approved by the Committee on House Administration.

House Committees: The bill provides $150.3 million in total for House Committees. This amount is $3.15 million above the current level and the same as the budget request. This account includes funding for staff salaries and official expenses of Committees including equipment, telecommunications, printing, and contract services. Funding is available until December 31, 2018.

Administrative Provisions: The bill provides that unspent amounts remaining in MRA accounts be used for deficit or debt reduction; prohibits the delivery of bills and resolutions; prohibits the delivery of printed copies of the Congressional Record; places a limitation on the amount available to lease vehicles; places a limitation on print copies of the U.S. Code; prohibits the delivery of the report of disbursements; prohibits the delivery of the daily calendar; prohibits delivery of congressional pictorial directory; prohibits a cost-of-living adjustment for Members of Congress; and allows U.S. Capitol Police dignitary protection detail to travel overseas with Members of Leadership.

Joint Items:    The Committee recommends $19.6 million for Fiscal Year 2017 for the various joint committees and activities carried out under this heading. The recommendation is $1.2 million below the Fiscal Year 2016 level and is $1.44 million below the budget request.  This includes funding for the Joint Committee on Taxation, Joint Economic Committee, Office of the Attending Physician, and Office of Congressional Accessibility Services.

Capitol Police: The bill provides $391.3 million for the U.S. Capitol Police, an increase of $16.3 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 enacted level. This will fund critical safety and security functions for all Members, staff, and visitors of the Capitol Complex, and maintain public access to the Capitol and its office buildings.

Office of Compliance:  The bill provides $3.9 million for the Office of Compliance. This amount is the same as the Fiscal Year 2016 level and is $356,151 below the budget request. The Office of Compliance was established to administer and enforce the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law 104–091), which applies various employment and workplace safety laws to Congress and certain Legislative Branch entities.

Congressional Budget Office: The bill provides $46.5 million for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). This is the same as the Fiscal Year 2016 level and is $1.14 million below the budget request.  CBO provides independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.[4]

Architect of the Capitol: The bill provides $551.7 million for the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), which is $23 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 enacted level and $54.2 million below the budget request. The bill includes $17 million for the House Historic Buildings Revitalization Trust Fund and $30.8 million for the second phase of the four-phased garage rehabilitation program for the Rayburn House Office Building.

Library of Congress: The bill provides $629 million for the Library of Congress (LOC), an increase of $29 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 enacted level. This funding will support migration of the Library’s Primary Computing Facility to an alternate facility, and includes resources for the Copyright Office’s ongoing modernization efforts.

Government Publishing Office: The legislation includes $117 million for the Government Publishing Office (GPO), the same as the Fiscal Year 2016 enacted level.  GPO is the Federal Government’s official, digital, secure resource for producing, procuring, cataloging, indexing, authenticating, disseminating, and preserving the official information products of the U.S. Government.[5]

Government Accountability Office: The bill provides $533.1 million in direct appropriations for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), plus $23.35 million in offsetting collections derived from reimbursements for conducting financial audits of government corporations and rental of space in the GAO building. The total available is an increase of $2.1 million above the Fiscal Year 2016 level and is $34.7 million below the budget request. This funding will allow GAO to continue its critical oversight work, providing Congress with accurate, nonpartisan reporting of federal programs and tracking of how taxpayer dollars are spent.

Open World Leadership Center Trust Fund: The bill provides $1 million for shut down costs of the Open World Leadership Center Trust Fund. For many years, the Committee has had concerns that the Open World Leadership Center in the Legislative Branch mirrors numerous similar or nearly identical programs administered by Federal agencies.

John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Training and Development: The bill provides $430,000 for Fiscal Year 2017. This amount is the same as the Fiscal Year 2016 level and is the same as the budget request.  The Center’s congressional mandate is to attract young people to careers in public service, to provide training for leaders in or likely to be in public service, and to offer training and development opportunities for senior congressional staff, Members of Congress, and other public service leaders.[6]

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[1] See Committee on Appropriations press release “Committee Approves Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill,” May 17, 2016.
[2] House Report 114-594 at 3.
[3] See Committee on Appropriations press release “Committee Approves Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill,” May 17, 2016.
[4] See CBO—“An Introduction to the Congressional Budget Office,” April 2015.
[5] http://www.gpo.gov/about/
[6] https://stennis.gov/about-the-center

Background

The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act provides funding for the operations of the House of Representatives, joint House-Senate items, and other Legislative Branch entities, such as the Capitol Police; Office of Compliance; Congressional Budget Office; Architect of the Capitol; Library of Congress and Congressional Research Service; Government Publishing Office; and the Government Accountability Office. Conforming to longstanding practice under which each body of Congress determines its own housekeeping requirements and the other concurs without intervention, funds for the Senate are not included in the bill as reported to the House.[1]

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[1] House Report 114-594 at 3.

Cost

If enacted, H.R. 5325 would result in discretionary budget authority of $3,481,620,499.

Amendments

  1. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) – This amendment increases funding for the Sergeant at Arms by $100,000 for additional clearance investigations, and decreases the Office of the Clerk by the same amount.
  2. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) – This amendment reprograms funds to create an Office of Good Jobs for the House of Representatives.
  3. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) – This amendment requires the Architect of the Capitol to conduct a feasibility study regarding the installation and operation of Capital Bikeshare stations on Capitol Grounds.
  4. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) – This amendment transfers $500,000 from the Capital Construction and Operations account to the Capitol Building and House Office Buildings accounts, appropriating $250,000 to each. This amendment would bring the Capitol and House office buildings into compliance with General Services Administration requirements for federal buildings regarding lactation stations for breastfeeding mothers.
  5. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) – This amendment transfers $430,000 from the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Training and Development to the spending reduction account.
  6. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) – This amendment provides for a one percent across the board cut to the bill’s spending levels. Accounts for the Capitol Police, Architect of the Capitol-Capitol Police Buildings, Grounds and Security, and Office of the Sergeant At Arms shall not be reduced.
  7. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) – This amendment prohibits funds from being used for the manufacturing of government security credentials by the Government Publishing Office (GPO) for any agency other than Capitol Police and the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives.
  8. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) – This amendment prohibits any funds for delivering printed copies of the United States House of Representatives Telephone Directory to the office of any Member of the House of Representatives.
  9. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) – This amendment prohibits any funds for delivering printed copies of the President’s Budget to the office of any Member of the House of Representatives.
  10. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) – This amendment expands the list of parties with whom the federal government is prohibited from contracting due to serious misconduct on the part of the contractors.
  11. Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) – This amendment appropriates $2.5 million to re-institute the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), offset from funds from the Architect of the Capitol’s Capital Construction and Operations Account.
  12. Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) – This amendment prohibits use of funds under this Act to be used to deliver a printed copy of the Federal Register to a Member of the House of Representatives.
  13. Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-NM) – This amendment reduces the Office of Congressional Ethics budget to FY16 levels and transfers remaining funds to the deficit reduction account.

Additional Information

For questions about amendments or further information on the bill, contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.