Wasserman Schultz, ranking member of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, is expected in her opening remarks at Tuesday’s markup to blast the Republican proposal: “At some point there is no ‘doing more with less’ — there is only less [and] we have reached that point,” according to her office.
The scope of the cut is unprecedented by any standard, regardless of party affiliation.
Meanwhile, the proposed spending bill would fund the Library of Congress at $557 million, a cut of $30.7 million from the fiscal 2013 allocation. It comes as the agency has found itself in a massive storage crisis where overflow books are being piled onto the floors.
And the Government Accountability Office, functioning at its lowest staffing levels since the 1930s while continuing to receive a high rate of congressional requests for reports on taxpayer waste, fraud and abuse, would receive $486 million in the House’s Legislative Branch draft bill, or a $20 million cut from fiscal 2013.
But along with these cuts come some concessions from House Republican appropriators.
“The Capitol is not only a symbol of American government, but a working, active, and highly visited complex that requires significant upkeep to keep it safe, operating efficiently, and accessible to the public,” Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said in a statement Monday.
To this end, the bill would fund the Architect of the Capitol with $508 million, a $15.6 million increase above the fiscal 2013 allocation. The line item would include $16 billion to let the AOC proceed with the next stages of restoring the Capitol Dome, which is starting to crumble after more than a century of weather damage.
It’s a striking acknowledgement from lawmakers that the Capitol complex’s aging infrastructure will not survive later on in the absence of some investments to ensure its upkeep.
And the Capitol Police would receive $329 million in the House bill, a decrease of $9.4 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level but simultaneously an $8.3 million increase above the funding levels currently being sustained because of the sequester. The additional funds would, according to the bill summary, “prevent any furloughs that could cause potentially dangerous lapses in the security of the buildings and those who work in and visit the Complex.”
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.