“We want to be responsible and as green as possible, but we have to balance that with the expense,” the Utah Republican said.
Other expected recommendations are more general, such as increasing transparency when House agencies make decisions that would affect Members and staff, the staffer said.
But at the same time, the group recognizes the test of cutting costs while mitigating thousands of safety hazards around the Capitol complex and keeping up security.
In the budget justifications submitted in February, the Architect of the Capitol and the Capitol Police requested 15 percent budget increases from fiscal 2010.
“This is a time when it’s pretty evident that people don’t want Congress spending money on itself,” the staffer said. “It’s a challenge, but at the end of the day, I think we’ll be able to do both. We’ll be able to reduce the cost of operations of Congress, but we’re going to put a lot of emphasis into figuring out how to do more with less.”
Since a budget has not been passed and Congress is working under a continuing resolution, the group has no hard deadline at which time its recommendations must be submitted.
“The most important deadline for the House operations team is Jan. 5, because that’s when we get the keys to the car,” the staffer said.
Still, any conclusions the panel draws will have to be acted on either by Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) or House committees.
“We don’t have any legal authority to set the budgets ... but I think a lot of the suggestions we make in this committee will be taken pretty seriously by the leadership and by the conference,” Goodlatte said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.