Presidential Preparations

Posted January 28, 2008 at 6:57pm

While it’s far from clear who will take the oath of office as the nation’s 44th president, preparations already are under way for the 2009 presidential inauguration.

[IMGCAP(1)]The Architect of the Capitol released a presolicitation notice on Jan. 23 seeking proposals from contractors to construct the stands that will hold government officials, spectators and others during the inauguration, which is held on the Capitol’s West Front.

The project is expected to cost $1 million to $5 million, according to the presolicitation notice. The official notice will be issued on Feb. 8 and the proposal deadline is March 7.

Download History. The Government Printing Office has posted the most recent edition of Glenn Brown’s “History of the United States Capitol” onto its Web site.

Originally published in 1900, the book is considered one of the best sources for information on the Capitol, from its construction to the installation of elevators to its landscaping and art. It was last printed in the second session of the 108th Congress.

On the GPO site, the book is divided into 36 sections that can be downloaded for free as PDF files. Visit gpoaccess.gov for more information.

Veteran Business. Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.) wants disabled veterans to have a business advantage in the House.

Boozman recently introduced a bill that would require the House and legislative branch agencies to set aside some of their procurement contracts for small businesses owned by disabled veterans. The idea comes from an order by President Bush that required the same of executive branch agencies.

Boozman’s bill isn’t the only effort to bring more disabled veterans into the Capitol work force. Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard hopes to develop a program by March that will match severely wounded veterans with House jobs.

Boozman instead focuses on outsourced contracts, requiring agencies to give at least 3 percent of the total value of those contracts to disabled veteran businesses.

The House, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, the Government Printing Office, the Library of Congress, the Office of Compliance and the Capitol Police would have to comply.

So far, however, Boozman has only one co-sponsor: Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.).

Moving On Up. DC Vote, the leading advocacy group battling to obtain full Congressional voting rights for the District of Columbia, has moved its headquarters.

DC Vote’s offices are now located at 2000 P Street NW, Suite 200, just steps from the Dupont Circle Metro station. DC Vote’s telephone number (202-462-6000) and Web site (dcvote.org) remain the same.

Since the bill to give D.C. a full vote in the House failed on a 57-42 cloture vote in the Senate last year, the group has targeted specific Members, hoping to get the three additional votes needed.

Advocates currently are in Montana, asking residents to pressure Sen. Max Baucus (D) to vote for the measure should it return to the floor.

A Helping Hand. Senators got some help last week making their offices accessible to disabled staffers and visitors.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) distributed a guide outlining ways to handle emergency situations and “rules of etiquette.” The guide comes about three months after the Office of Compliance released its annual report on the accessibility of Congressional offices. That report cited vast improvements since the 108th Congress.

Enzi decided to prepare the 25-page guide after hosting several interns who had experience working on disability issues, said spokesman Craig Orfield. As ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Enzi also knows the federal laws that enforce disability access.

“Unfortunately, many of our constituents with disabilities have difficulties accessing their elected officials, attending hearings, and participating in other events here in Congress because of physical, attitudinal, and communication barriers that prohibit it or make it very difficult,” Enzi wrote in his “Dear Colleague” letter. “No one should be precluded from participating in the legislative process because of these societal and institutional barriers.”

Breaking the Bank. The Government Printing Office will distribute President Bush’s 2009 budget at 10 a.m. Monday at 710 North Capitol St. NW.

The four-volume budget will cost $213 for a hard copy and $24.95 for a CD. Those who order it in advance will get a discount: $199 for the four volumes, or $209 for both the books and the CD. Orders can be placed at bookstore.gpo.gov/collections/budget.jsp.

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