Lankford Subcommittee Assesses Library of Congress, Architect of the Capitol Budgets
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, today held a hearing to review the FY2018 budget requests for the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol.
Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, and Stephen Ayers, Architect of the Capitol, provided testimony on their respective requests for increased funding in FY2018.
“We are yet again in a situation where flat budgets are more than likely, and may even be a best-case scenario,” Lankford said. “We are looking at a significant decrease in discretionary spending across the government, and we must do our part to make responsible decisions in this bill on how we allocate our limited funds.”
“It is worth noting that in previous years the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol have requested increases that the Subcommittee was not able to provide, and yet, each agency has been able to maintain services and complete needed projects and modernization efforts,” he said.
The following is Lankford’s opening statement, as prepared for delivery:
Good afternoon. The subcommittee will come to order. I’d like to welcome everyone to the first of our fiscal year 2018 budget hearings for the Legislative Branch appropriations subcommittee.
Today we have with us the Honorable Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, and the Honorable Stephen Ayers, Architect of the Capitol. I appreciate the willingness of the witnesses to appear before the subcommittee today and look forward to their testimony.
I’d like to offer a special welcome to Dr. Hayden as this is her first hearing before this subcommittee. Confirmed as the 14th Librarian of Congress, she is the first woman and first African-American to lead the Library.
She also has taken the helm of the Library at a critical point in its modernization, and I look forward to hearing the plans for moving the Library toward that goal in the coming years.
Before we dive into the details, I’d like to frame the fiscal situation we find ourselves in this year. We are yet again in a situation where flat budgets are more than likely, and may even be a best-case scenario.
We are looking at a significant decrease in discretionary spending across the government, and we must do our part to make responsible decisions in this bill on how we allocate our limited funds.
It is my hope that during this Congress we can return to debating and passing individual appropriations bills instead of governing from one continuing resolution to another. These stand-alone bills better reflect the thoughtful work of our Committee and valuable insights from your agencies, which we are set to receive today.
For FY 2018, the total budget request for the Library is $687.7 million, an increase of $55.8 million above the FY 2017 enacted level.
The request includes an increase for Enterprise IT Modernization across the Library and an additional 42 FTEs to support that effort, as well as increase the staff levels for the Copyright Office and the Congressional Research Service.
The Architect of the Capitol’s budget request for FY 2018 totals $773.1 million, an increase of $155.2 million above FY 2017 enacted level, including 9 additional FTE.
Of this request, $350 million is for capital projects, and given the deferred maintenance backlog of $1.5 billion, I recognize you had to make difficult choices in regards to what was included in your request.
I must reiterate that we will have to make even more difficult choices in light of the budget constraints we face. In this budget environment, we will not be able to accommodate these large increases, so it will be important to hear what you think are the most needed of these investments.
It is worth noting that in previous years the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol have requested increases that the Subcommittee was not able to provide, and yet, each agency has been able to maintain services and complete needed projects and modernization efforts.
The Library received only $42 million of the $101 million it requested in the past two years, and was able to invest in IT Security, plan for agency-wide IT modernization, and respond to 60,000 congressional requests that were made to CRS.
Similarly, the Architect received only $17 million of the requested $142 million over the last two years, but within this budget the Dome and Rotunda Restoration was completed, work continued on the Capitol exterior stone and metal preservation, and setup for 2017 Inauguration was flawlessly executed.
I mention this to remind you, and also commend you, for what can be and has been accomplished even with limited funding.
Finally, before moving on, I’d like to offer my condolences for the loss of a member of the AOC team – Matthew McClanahan, a pipefitter in the Maintenance Division for the Capitol Grounds. I know his tragic loss has been difficult for your agency, and we continue to pray for Matthew’s family and the AOC community.
I’d like to turn now to my Ranking Member, Senator Murphy, for any opening remarks he may like to make.
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