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Money for the Hill

Among the billions in war funding included in the emergency spending bill sent to the White House last week, Congressional appropriators included $60 million for the legislative branch. [IMGCAP(1)]

Within that total is $10 million for the Capitol Police to help pay for new radios. When Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) originally included a provision for the radio modernization project in the emergency supplemental, she sought $15 million, which she said would be “an excellent start.” Police officials estimated earlier this year that completely replacing the current radio system with one that is interoperable with other local law enforcement agencies would cost $35 million and take up to three years to complete.

The other $50 million for the legislative branch will go to the Architect of the Capitol to be used to continue repairs to Capitol Hill’s utility tunnels system. Much of that funding will be used for asbestos abatement. The AOC and Office of Compliance recently reached a settlement agreement for a complaint filed in 2006 that created a plan to fix the many health and safety hazards in the aging tunnel system in the next five years.

Public Printer Picked. President Bush is expected to name Bob Tapella as the new public printer, the White House announced last week.

Tapella, who could not be reached for comment Friday, will take over for Bruce James, who left his position as head of the Government Printing Office in January. Currently the GPO’s chief of staff, Tapella has been running the agency alongside acting Public Printer Bill Turri since James’ departure.

“We all stand ready to assist Bob as he prepares to take the lead of this world-class digital operation,” Turri said.

Tapella first came to the GPO in 2002 to serve as deputy chief of staff and was elevated to his current position in 2004. He spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill, serving as a staffer in committees such as House Oversight and Government Reform and helping to develop a strategic plan for the Clerk of the House on how to revamp information-technology infrastructure in the legislative process.

A California native, Tapella also served as a district representative for former Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.).

The Capitol, On Demand. Today marks the last day that local Comcast viewers will be able to order C-SPAN’s award-winning documentary “The Capitol” in high definition through the cable provider’s On Demand tool.

“The Capitol” debuted last year on C-SPAN as a 10-hour special split over three nights. The 107-minute documentary that local cable providers are making available for free takes viewers on a high-definition highlight tour of the history of the House and Senate with six bonus featurettes on places such as Statuary Hall, the Old Supreme Court Chamber and the Speaker’s Lobby.

— John McArdle and Elizabeth Brotherton

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