Legislative Branch: Another 10 Percent Boost Proposed

Posted February 9, 2016 at 11:00am

The budget for the legislative branch would increase by nearly 10 percent, including more money for Capitol Police and for security and construction projects, under a spending proposal submitted Tuesday.  

Assembled by legislative agencies, not the White House, the budget for the legislative branch would increase spending from $4.6 billion enacted in fiscal 2016 to $4.9 billion in fiscal 2017. The branch asked for a similar increase when it proposed its fiscal 2016 budget.  

Lawmakers once again chose not to give themselves raises in the next fiscal year, according to the budget. But for the first time since 2010, the proposal shows that lawmakers on the House side could see salary increases in future years. The Senate’s budget shows a flat $24 million for the 100 lawmakers salaries through 2026.  

Within the budget, Capitol Police are requesting another bump from $375 million enacted in fiscal 2016 to $409 million in fiscal 2017. Salary costs would rise from $309 million to $333 million, which could reflect both salary increases and expanded staffing. Nearly $40 million has been budgeted for Capitol Police buildings, grounds and security, up from $25 million enacted in fiscal 2016 and double what was enacted in fiscal 2015. The department’s budget has more than quadrupled in the past 15 years, as congressional security concerns have increased.  

The Architect of the Capitol’s construction budget would also increase under the proposal, from $92 million to $104 million, as it continues to oversee reconstruction of buildings on Capitol Hill. A $1 million increase for the Congressional Budget Office is proposed, from $47 million to $48 million. The Government Publishing Office budget stays flat a $118 million.  

The legislative branch budget is made up of requests from the legislative agencies and the offices that it funds, not from the Office of Management and Budget. That sets it apart from the 11 other appropriations bills that Congress will consider. It is customary for the House and Senate chambers to defer to each other in setting funding levels.  

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @remawriter.

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