Appropriations Committee Passes Senator Lankford’s First Legislative Branch Funding Bill as Chairman
WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved Senator James Lankford’s (R-OK) FY2018 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill with funding and policy provisions to address heightened Capitol security challenges, freeze pay for Members of Congress, and address a number of other issues within the Legislative Branch. Lankford was named chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Legislative Branch in January.
“In a year with limited resources, we’ve had to make thoughtful decisions about where to prioritize investments,” said Lankford. “While there are many worthy causes among the agencies of the Legislative Branch, we recommend allocating resources in a responsible way to maintain current services and allow for critical investments in security, information technology modernization, and government transparency. I’m grateful to the dedicated public servants covered by this bill, including Capitol Police and the Architect of the Capitol employees. Their work is invaluable, and I appreciate them greatly.”
The bill maintains essential operations and security of the US Capitol, Congress, and support agencies. The bill also includes directives for the US Capitol Police and Senate Sergeant at Arms to address security issues arising from the attack on Members of Congress in June. The bill also maintains the Member pay freeze first implemented in 2009.
“New concerns and challenges require a greater emphasis on the security of those in the Capitol complex,” said Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS). “I appreciate the work done by Senators Lankford and Murphy to put forward a bipartisan bill that addresses the most pressing needs of the Congress and the millions of people who visit the Capitol.”
The bill provides $3.171 billion in discretionary budget authority, excluding items pertaining solely to the US House of Representatives. An additional $1.319 billion is reserved for the House. Total funding accommodated in the bill is $4.490 billion, which is $50 million more than the FY2017 enacted level of $4.440 billion and $192 million less than the FY2018 budget request.
US Senate – $899.8 million, $28.6 million above the FY2017 enacted level and $48.5 million below the FY2018 budget request. The increase provides for investments in Senate cybersecurity capabilities and training to Senators and their staff.
- Senators’ Personal Office Funding – The bill provides an increase in the allocation to the Senators’ Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA) to support the increasing costs related to providing cybersecurity protections for Senators’ offices.
- Member Pay Freeze – The bill continues a provision to freeze the pay of Members of Congress, preventing any pay increases in FY2018. A freeze on Members’ salaries has been in place since 2009.
US Capitol Police – $422.5 million for the US Capitol Police, $29.2 million above the FY2017 enacted level and slightly above the FY2018 budget request. Increased funding is included to address concerns related to security and protection following the shooting at a Congressional baseball practice earlier this year. This funding level also provides for the requested increase in officer and civilian staffing, provides some lifecycle replacement for equipment, and allows the Department to continue mission-essential training.
Architect of the Capitol (AOC) – $454.0 million, $38.9 million above the FY2017 enacted level and $125.8 million below the FY2018 budget request, to allow the AOC to maintain current operations and prioritize some of the critical projects that address safety concerns for those who visit or work in the Capitol complex. An additional $175.3 million is reserved for House Office Buildings, consistent with tradition.
Library of Congress (LOC) – $638.9 million, $6.9 million above the FY2017 enacted level and $48.8 million below the FY2018 budget request, to allow the LOC to continue support functions for Congress and services for the public, as well as continued modernization of information technology systems. The bill also includes funding to modernize mission-specific systems for the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the US Copyright Office.
- Making CRS Reports Public – The bill includes a provision that will make non-confidential CRS report available to the public via the Government Publishing Office’s website. The provision includes protections for Member confidentiality.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) – $562.8 million, $18.3 million above the FY2017 enacted level and $27.9 million below the FY2018 budget request. This funding level will allow GAO to continue to support Congress by providing critical oversight with accurate, nonpartisan reporting of federal programs and tracking the expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) – $48.1 million, $1.6 million above the FY2017 enacted level and $1.8 million below the FY2018 budget request, including $1.1 million to relocate the CBO data center.
Government Publishing Office (GPO) – $117 million, equal to the FY2017 enacted level and the FY2018 budget request, to maintain congressional printing activities at current levels.