Legislative Branch Funding Takes Shape
As House and Senate appropriators negotiate the structure and content of a government funding package , funding for legislative branch agencies appears to be all set.
“As far as our piece, we’re in good shape,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., ranking member on the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee. “We’ve, you know, pretty much closed out everything other than some of the things that some of the leadership wants to have a say on, but … it’s more technical.” Hoeven said the Senate version of the legislation for legislative branch funding did not make any major changes to the House bill , which was announced in April and passed the House in May. He said, “I think we tried to hold the line on everything the House was holding the line on.”
The House bill extended the fiscal year 2014 spending levels and included an increase in Capitol Police funding as well as a freeze on salaries for members of Congress, both of which Hoeven said the Senate incorporated in its version.
The Senate bill also includes the same funding the House appropriated for the final phase of the Capitol Dome restoration project, which is expected to be complete by January 2017.
“We did $60 million on the Dome last year. And we got $20 million in for the interior,” said Hoeven. “So that fully funds the Dome restoration, which is something I was concerned about getting done because that’s a multi-year project and they can’t bid it unless they know they have the dollars.”
The North Dakota Republican also said the a few technical issues remained open for negotiation at the request of leadership. One of those questions up for negotiation involved campaign finance disclosures submitted to the Federal Election Commission.
Senate candidates are currently required to file paper disclosure forms with the Secretary of the Senate, which are then sent to the FEC to be transferred into a PDF and posted online. Massive disclosure reports caused a backlog in FEC posting this year. The FEC reported a 45 percent increase in the size of reports since 2012.
“With all the new requirements, the question was, do you continue to file paper with Secretary of Senate or do you just set up to do it electronically?” Hoeven said. “And again that was one where we have some committee chairs and leadership that wanted to keep that open and we did.”
But Hoeven did not anticipate any disagreements over legislative branch issues to slow down the spending negotiations. “I don’t know of anything in [legislative] branch that will hold it up,” he said.
Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.
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