Legislative Branch

Public-Facing Congressional Research Reports Site Launches to Criticism
crsreports.congress.gov went live on time, but with a number of shortcomings

A new Congressional Research Service website with public reports is now live. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress’ in-house research division has moved to make more of its reports public, as required by law, but the new website is already drawing criticism.

Under the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill, the Congressional Research Service had to publish all nonconfidential reports on a public website operated by the Library of Congress. The website went live Tuesday, meeting the deadline set by appropriators.

What Congress Wants to Study and ‘Explore’ About Itself
Dunkin’ Donuts, horse mounted police and leaky Cannon tunnel all will get consideration

Congress wants studies on police horses, flooding in the Cannon Tunnel, Senate child care and more. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What to do with some basement ambience, Horse-mounted police and Dunkin’ Donuts are but a few questions appropriators want answered as they look to fund Congress and its agencies to the tune of $4.8 billion.The fiscal year 2019 appropriations conference committee report released Monday includes reporting requirements and requests for studies and explorations. Here are just a few: 

Conferees had some real talk about the tunnel that connects the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol:“The current condition of the Cannon tunnel is that of a basement ambience,” said the report, “Furthermore the tunnel is subject to leaks which have recently caused the tunnel to be closed.”The report directs the Architect of the Capitol and the  Clerk of the House to develop a comprehensive plan to “enhance the tunnel,” including cost estimates, timeline, and renderings.

Cybersecurity Background Key for New Information Officer at GPO
Sam Musa comes at a time of heightened scrutiny across government for cybersecurity

Sam Musa will take the helm at the Government Publishing Office as chief information officer. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Government Publishing Office, the agency that processes and publishes information from the federal government, has named a new chief information officer. Sam Musa, a longtime federal IT and cybersecurity expert, will be the new CIO for the agency.

“Sam brings a wealth of experience working in Federal Government IT and cybersecurity to GPO,” said acting GPO Deputy Director Herbert H. Jackson, Jr. “I look forward to his ideas of strengthening the agency’s IT operations, which will enhance our service to Congress, Federal agencies and the public.”

Library of Congress Awards $27.3 Million Data Center Contract
Accenture will develop long-planned project

The Library of Congress has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Accenture for a new data security and storage center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Contracting giant Accenture was awarded the $27.3 million contract to build the long-planned new data center for the Library of Congress.

The federal services arm of Accenture announced the three-year contract to build both a physical data center and other hosting environments, including cloud services.

Library of Congress Tees Up Strategic Changes
Inspector general says institution has not followed through on previous plans

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said the institution would do a better job planning and executing as a knowledge base. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Library of Congress is looking into the future and is on track to release a five-year strategic plan in October. The agency, which has struggled with management and planning in the past, updated lawmakers on their progress on Wednesday.

The library will embark on a mission to focus on its users and providing improved services for the 1.8 million people who visit the library in person and more than 300 million digital users each year.

Staffer Raise Might Pay for Daily Coffee
Roll Call analysis shows stagnant salaries lag far behind costs

An aide tends the door to a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol in December. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House lawmakers are intent on giving staff members a raise in 2017, concerned that low pay and long hours are contributing to turnover and congressional brain drain.  

But the money won't go very far, according to a Roll Call analysis.  

Congressman Takes Aim at Ethics Agency
Pearce attempts to defund agency that reviewed former employee

New Mexico Republican Rep. Steve Pearce is one against going after the Office of Congressional Ethics. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A New Mexico Republican may have failed to defund a congressional ethics agency that once investigated one of his own employees – but he did succeed calling for a debate over cutting a nearly $200,000 budget request increase instead.  

Rep. Steve Pearce introduced two amendments to the Legislative Branch spending plan contentiously debated on the House floor on Thursday. It was among a flurry of changes lawmakers attempted to attach to a typically overlooked appropriations bill that controls the House's spending on the House.  

Senate Holds the Line on Staff Salaries
No raises for members of Congress either in bill approved by Appropriations Committee

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri speaks during a Senate Appropriations meeting to markup the legislative branch spending bill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a legislative branch spending bill Thursday that did not address raising salaries for the chamber’s staff — unlike their counterparts in the House .  

The appropriations bill also includes a provision, which has been in place since 2009, that would prevent any pay increase for members of Congress. The same has been the case for House members since 2010.  

Republicans Want to Bring Back 'Illegal Alien'
Appropriations bill would require Library of Congress to continue using term

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said she hoped that lawmakers could "make a decision not to be the word police.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At issue was nearly $3.5 billion in spending for Capitol Police, lawmaker salaries, government printing and basic operations of the House for the next fiscal year.  

But the bulk of an hour of debate in Wednesday's Appropriations markup was devoted to a two-word phrase the Library of Congress is trying to excise from its lexicon: "illegal alien."  

Senate Food Workers Press Case on Wages
AOC says 35 get negotiated raises, others in dispute

Senate food workers have been calling attention to what they call "wage theft" and are making their case for higher wages. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate workers brought their fight against what they say is "wage theft" to a hearing on Tuesday, bringing the national debate over income inequality to the confines of Congress. Several Senate food service workers have recently had their job titles reclassified to reflect higher wages after employees alleged a contractor tried to stiff them out of a raise.  

But some workers said their situations haven’t changed and they used a Senate Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee hearing Tuesday to plead their case directly to Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers.