Capitol Police boosted in Legislative Branch appropriations bill
Architect of the Capitol takes the brunt of the cuts with a 29 percent drop
Fiscal 2024 spending authority for the legislative branch would be cut by 2.2 percent from enacted fiscal 2023 levels, according to a draft appropriations bill released Tuesday by House Republicans.
The bill would allocate $6.7 billion to the House, Senate and support agencies, down from the $6.9 billion enacted in fiscal 2023. The $5.313 billion in funding for the House of Representatives would be a 4.5 percent, or $252 million, decrease from the current budget year.
The draft would support a series of conservative priorities, according to a summary released by the House Appropriations Committee. It would maintain funding for oversight of the Biden administration, require unspent money earmarked for staff pay to be diverted to deficit reduction and prevent the purchase of telecommunications equipment from “China and other adversaries."
Taking the brunt of the cuts would be the Architect of the Capitol — an embattled agency whose former leader, J. Brett Blanton, was fired by President Joe Biden in February. It would receive $798.1 million, down 29 percent, or $332.3 million, from fiscal 2023 enacted levels.
The text was published ahead of a House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee markup on Wednesday, as the fiscal 2024 appropriations process ramps up. It was released as Republicans push for sizable cuts to discretionary spending over the course of the next decade as they negotiate the nation’s debt ceiling.
The proposal would provide $780.9 million to the Capitol Police, $46.3 million more than enacted fiscal 2023 levels, which was itself a 22 percent increase over fiscal 2022. The Capitol Police have struggled with personnel shortages and increased threats to members and staff since the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, amid pleas from Police Chief J. Thomas Manger for more resources. It would provide $588.1 million for salaries of sworn officers and civilian personnel.
House Appropriations Democrats slammed the Republican proposal, saying it does too little to address Capitol Police personnel needs, zeroes out funding for the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion and does nothing to facilitate collective bargaining rights granted to House staff last year.
“This bill halts the progress made in recent years, raises concerns about Congress’s ability to maintain constituent services, and does not fully fund personnel needs for the United States Capitol Police at a time when threats against Members and staff are on the rise,” Appropriations Committee ranking member Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said in a statement. “We made progress last Congress, but this bill takes us backward.”
Many of the other legislative branch areas would get small increases or remain flat under the proposal.
The Library of Congress would receive $843.7 million, a $15.2 million boost over enacted fiscal 2023 levels, but more than $51 million less than the agency requested.
Similarly, the Government Accountability Office would receive $806 million, $15.7 million more than the current fiscal year but $53.6 million less than the GAO requested for the coming year. The Congressional Budget Office, too, would get a modest $1.4 million bump, bringing total agency funding to $64.6 million.
The Members’ Representational Allowance, which funds House office budgets and staffer salaries, would remain flat at $810 million. Funding for both the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights and the Government Publishing Office would also remain flat, at $8 million and $129.9 million, respectively.