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Legislation to scrap architect Frank Gehry’s plan for a memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower, overhaul the commission in charge of the project and select a new design would cost $17 million over the next five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Analysts estimate the greatest cost of implementing the proposal, sponsored by GOP Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, would come from launching a new competition to select an alternative to the current design, which the Eisenhower family has criticized. The budget office said its estimate is based on historical spending for other national memorials.
Bishop offered the plan with the family’s support, and the House Natural Resources Committee favorably reported the proposal by voice vote in June.
The proposal would also kill the project’s congressional funding, appoint new members to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission and sunset the organization, created in 1999, within three years of the measure’s enactment. Analysts projected the expenses for new staff and commissioners would be about the same as the current operation.
Commission members have declared Bishop’s plan an insult to the efforts of the past 14 years to make the memorial a reality.Legislative Branch Bills Moving Along
Appropriators in the House and Senate may largely spare the Capitol campus, including Capitol Police, Library of Congress, the Government Printing Office and the Government Accountability Office, from the deep spending cuts other domestic programs are facing in fiscal 2014.
Legislative Branch appropriations bills approved by panels in both chambers last week (the House Legislative Branch Subcommittee and the full Senate Appropriations panel) would boost spending from post-sequester levels — increasing the House figure by $63 million and the Senate’s by $289 million.
Democrats controlling the Senate Appropriations Committee provided an increase of $47 million over the fiscal 2013 enacted level, reflecting concern that funds needed to keep Capitol Hill afloat have reached a dangerously low level. Their bill funds every jointly controlled agency, except the Architect of the Capitol’s office, at higher levels than those approved by the House panel.
The House measure includes $508 million for the AOC, compared with the Senate’s $469 million. Both bills would allocate almost $16 million to continue repairs to the aging Capitol Dome.
The full House Appropriations Committee takes up the House bill on Thursday.Schneider Back With PIO
Lt. Kimberly Schneider rejoined the Capitol Police Public Information Office on Monday, resuming a position she held for seven years between 2005 and 2012.
Both Schneider and Officer Shennell S. Antrobus, who replaced Schneider after her November 2012 departure, will hold the title of public information officer for the department.