While lawmakers are struggling to find ways to affect specific spending directions in continuing resolutions, experts say the use of stopgap bills leaves them losing ground in one major area of responsibility.
The appropriations process is one of the best tools Congress has for oversight, said Robert Shea, a principal at Grant Thornton’s public sector practice and a former congressional and Office of Management and Budget staffer.
Officials at federal agencies pay close attention to demands in spending bills and the accompanying reports, he said, because of the control that appropriators have on their budgets. “Not enough attention is getting paid to what things are working” when the government operates under CRs, Shea said.
For the appropriators, allowing programs to run under long-term CRs marks a loss in influence.
“That’s why these people are going to continue to fight” to get bills into a final fiscal 2014 package, said William Hoagland, a senior vice president at the nonprofit Bipartisan Policy Center and former longtime Senate aide.
“They got on the Appropriations Committees because they wanted to get things done and they want to influence on policy. It’s got to be terribly frustrating for them,” he said.
On Dec. 19, 2013, the Architect of the Capitol gave a special media tour of the infrastructure surrounding the Rotunda, and the interior and exterior of the U.S. Capitol Dome. This past fall, the AOC began a multi-year restoration project that will repair the more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies from weather and age, and restore the Dome to its former splendor.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.