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Coronavirus economic relief package provides $93 million cash infusion for Legislative Branch

Millions would go to facilitate congressional staff working from home, child care reimbursement and sanitary product for Capitol

A box of tissues and a bottle of Purrell hand sanitizer sit on the desk in the Senate Reception Room in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
A box of tissues and a bottle of Purrell hand sanitizer sit on the desk in the Senate Reception Room in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (CQ Roll Call)

Legislative Branch agencies would get a $93.1 million infusion of cash through the emergency economic relief bill to mitigate the novel coronavirus, including millions to both help offices shift to working remotely and to sanitize the Capitol complex.

The funds are included in the nearly $2 trillion package agreed to early Wednesday by Senate leaders and the White House. For the Legislative Branch portion of the bill, the Senate is slated to get $10 million — $1 million of those funds would be sent to the sergeant-at-arms to cover teleworking costs for committees and offices. The rest is expected to be allocated to covering costs associated with emergency coronavirus-related needs, including the authority to reimburse costs for workers at the Senate Employees Child Care Center.

The House would get $25 million to fund the chamber’s remote work and to purchase supplies for employees to make working from home more efficient. Money is also available to pay restaurant workers and vendors for food and service contracts and for employees and costs associated with the House Child Care Center.

The Architect of the Capitol will receive $25 million to, in part, buy cleaning supplies in bulk and distribute them and to fund service contracts, especially to make payments to its contractors if the pandemic prevents them from working, either because of furloughs or lack of access to the Capitol.

Capitol Police would get $12 million to maintain staffing levels to protect and secure the Capitol grounds. This amount also includes funding to cover remote working and contract support for a reduced workforce on the ground.

The Government Accountability Office would get $20 million to conduct oversight of funding for the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. This amount also will go toward salaries and reimbursing staff costs at the GAO’s child care center.

The Library of Congress would get $700,000 to reimburse child care staff, and the Office of the Attending Physician would get $400,000 to support its purchasing of medical supplies and personal protective equipment.

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