With scaffolding for the $59.55 million project set to go up on the Capitol’s roof this spring, appropriators have unveiled a boost to AOC funding for fiscal 2014 that provides the $15.94 million needed for the next phase of the Dome restoration.
Other legislative branch agencies, including the Capitol Police, GAO and Government Printing Office, would not receive the same increase. The bill would restore their funding levels about to fiscal 2013 enacted levels.
Appropriators also want to largely maintain the austere, post-sequester spending levels implemented March 1 for lawmakers’ expenses.
The largest item in the Legislative Branch bill is about $1.2 billion for the operations of the House, about $45 million less than the 2013 enacted level, but a $19 million increase from sequester levels that went into effect on March 1.
Cole told CQ Roll Call last week that staffs at the committee and individual member level had “stepped up to the plate” amid recent cuts, but indicated the austerity might have reached its limits. He predicted that proposal will win strong support from both chambers.
The agreement also includes $859 million for Senate operations and $720,000 to enhance oversight of intelligence matters. It would trim about $8 million from 2013 enacted levels.
Also tucked into the bill is a $174,000 payment to the widow of the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla.
Neither chamber passed a Legislative Branch appropriations bill before the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1. The budget of the bill, the smallest of the appropriations bills, has decreased each year since fiscal 2010.
Appropriators have used the bill as an opportunity to lead by example in deficit reduction efforts. In past years, lawmakers have pointed to the Legislative Branch bill as proof that they can be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money, funding only the most critical needs of congressional agencies, but that era may have reached its limit.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.