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House Legislative Branch spending bill would boost Capitol Police, GAO

Overall funding would increase 6 percent while Architect of the Capitol would see a cut

The Capitol Police would get a funding boost of about 5 percent in the House’s Legislative Branch spending bill for fiscal 2025.
The Capitol Police would get a funding boost of about 5 percent in the House’s Legislative Branch spending bill for fiscal 2025. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican appropriators on Wednesday released the draft text of a $7.1 billion fiscal 2025 Legislative Branch spending bill.

The proposal — which leaves room for Senate-only items but doesn’t specify them in deference to that chamber — represents an overall increase of $375 million, or nearly 6 percent, from fiscal 2024. Excluding those Senate items, the bill would provide $5.5 billion, which is a boost of $189 million, or 3.5 percent, over current enacted levels.

The draft bill would provide big funding boosts to the Capitol Police, the Library of Congress and the Government Accountability Office while cutting $56.3 million from the Architect of the Capitol’s fiscal 2024 enacted levels.

Appropriations Democrats applauded increased funding but said the bill was full of partisan policies.

“The reasonable funding levels are proof that House Republicans are capable of writing bills that House Democrats could support if they could simply abandon poison pill riders they know will be removed from the final agreement,” Appropriations Committee ranking member Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said in a statement. “I hope my Republican colleagues make these simple, necessary changes so we can pass this bill with strong support from both Democrats and Republicans.”

The House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up the bill Thursday morning.

“This legislation provides the resources needed for members to retain staff, serve constituents, and provide critical oversight of the Executive Branch,” Legislative Branch Appropriations Chairman David Valadao, R-Calif., said in a statement Wednesday. “Importantly, the bill also fully funds sworn staffing needs for Capitol Police so they can keep the Capitol complex and all who work and visit here safe.”

Valadao took the reins of the Legislative Branch panel in April, in the midst of the fiscal 2025 budget cycle, amid a shake-up of subcommittee cardinals after Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., became the full Appropriations Committee chairman.

“As the new chairman of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee, it’s been an exciting few weeks working to draft a bill that ensures Congress is able to serve the American people,” Valadao said.

The measure would provide $1.9 billion for the House of Representatives, including $843.6 million for the Members’ Representational Allowance, which pays staff salaries and covers office expenses, up $33.6 million over fiscal 2024 levels.

Elevated threats

At a time of elevated threats to members and staff, the Capitol Police would receive $830 million, 5 percent above current levels of funding. The Library of Congress’ $883.4 million appropriation would be an increase of almost 4 percent. The Government Accountability Office would receive a 10 percent bump, bringing funding levels for the coming fiscal year to $896.7 million.

The Architect of the Capitol — an agency beset with internal strife for years, punctuated by the removal of AOC J. Brett Blanton in February 2023 — had requested $1.03 billion for fiscal 2025. The draft bill would provide the agency just $752.2 million.

“Our foremost duty is to our constituents, and this bill delivers resources to serve the American people,” Cole said in a statement. “It supports operations central to our democracy and ensures Congress can execute strong oversight over the Biden administration.”

Democrats slammed the proposal’s conservative policy riders, including a provision that would prohibit the use of appropriated funds to take “any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially, on the basis that such person speaks, or acts, in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief, or moral conviction, that marriage is, or should be recognized as, a union of one man and one woman.”

The measure also would block the use of funds for any diversity, equity and inclusion programming “that promotes or perpetuates divisive concepts related to race or sex,” a sore spot for many Democrats after the GOP eliminated funding for the House Office of Diversity and inclusion in the fiscal 2024 spending bill. Another rider continues the ban on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipients working in the legislative branch.

“While I appreciate the work that has gone into this bill, I cannot support legislation that undermines diversity, the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and the future of DACA recipients,” House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., said in a statement. “I remain committed to working across the aisle to forge a path forward and fulfill the constitutional duty of Congress to fund the government in a manner that prioritizes safety, security, and the American people.”

Espaillat also took a shot at his Republican colleagues for allegedly delaying a plaque memorializing police and law enforcement who responded to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. That plaque was authorized in the fiscal 2022 omnibus and was supposed to be placed on the western side of the Capitol by March 2023. Democrats have recently accused Republicans of putting the project on ice, even though the plaque is reportedly finished and in the Capitol.

“Republicans have spent the majority of the 118th Congress in chaos fighting amongst themselves rather than putting the needs of the American people first. They could not even agree on how to move forward with installing a plaque honoring police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, which is unconscionable,” Espaillat said.

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