Library of Congress Gets Hit Hardest With Cuts

Legislative Branch Spending Slashed Over 2010

Posted April 12, 2011 at 6:39pm

The fiscal 2011 spending agreement includes more than $103 million in cuts to Congress’ own budget, which may eventually necessitate some layoffs around Capitol Hill but not the drastic actions that would have been required by other House proposals.

The Republican House has led the charge for spending reductions around the campus and is leading by example with this budget, as more than half of the legislative branch cuts would come from that chamber. The House budget would be reduced by $55 million from 2010 levels in accordance with a January resolution to slice 5 percent from the chamber’s operating costs for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The Senate would abide a net $10 million budget decrease from fiscal 2010, which includes a 5 percent reduction from each office’s allocation.

Around the Capitol campus, nearly every agency’s budget would be reduced, with the exception of the Capitol Police and the Congressional Budget Office.

The police department would get a $12.5 million budget increase, raising their top-line total to $340.8 million to rectify a salary miscalculation that led to a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall last year.

“We’re very happy,” said Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer, who chairs the Capitol Police Board. “It corrects a mistake and doesn’t necessitate any reductions any place.”

The CBO would get an additional
$1.7 million for salaries and expenses to avert layoffs and delays to budget proposals and analyses. Its budget would be $46.9 million. 

“In making difficult funding decisions, efforts focused on not requiring the Library of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, the Government Printing Office, and the Congressional Budget Office to furlough employees half way through the fiscal year,” according to a Senate summary of the legislative branch provisions of the bill.

But the Library, which would be forced to absorb a $13.4 million cut from 2010 levels, would be hit the hardest and would likely have to reduce staff.

“The level of funding provided in the [continuing resolution] proposal would require a hiring freeze with no new hires, and core services and products will be delayed as staff levels are reduced,” the Senate summary states. A Library spokeswoman said the agency will soon determine where the cuts will be absorbed.

The Architect of the Capitol would be funded at $587 million, which would ensure Dome repairs would be finished before the 2013 presidential inauguration, according to the Senate release.

The AOC would, however, take a $14.6 million rescission of Capitol Visitor Center construction funds that were not needed and thus not spent, which spokeswoman Eva Malecki said will not affect operations.

The GPO would be cut by more than $12 million, but the bulk would come from the agency’s revolving fund, which spokesman Gary Somerset said will not affect operations. The agency would operate on a $135.3 million budget.

The GAO would avoid layoffs, and with a $547.3 million budget — $9.5 million less than 2010 — it would not have to hand out furloughs either, spokesman Charles Young said.