SUMMARY -- Legislative Branch Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, June 14, 2018) – The fiscal year 2019 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill provides $3.361 billion in discretionary budget authority, excluding items pertaining solely to the House, which total an additional $1.429 billion.  Total funding accommodated in the bill is $4.790 billion, which is $90 million more than the fiscal 2018 enacted level and $159 million less than budget request.

The bill provides critical increases for the Government Accountability Office, the United States Capitol Police, the Copyright Office, the Congressional Budget Office, the Architect of the Capitol, and the Congressional Research Service.

Senator Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), Ranking Member of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee, said:

“This bill makes sure important agencies, like the non-partisan Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Capitol Police, can do their jobs. It also makes new critical investments to enhance cybersecurity and improve oversight and transparency of federal programs. We couldn’t have made this progress without the bipartisan budget agreement. I appreciate Chairman Daines’ bipartisan commitment to working together across the aisle.”

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee said:

“I want to thank Chairman Daines and Ranking Member Murphy for their bipartisan work on this bill.  I am especially glad it provides the necessary resources to give American citizens the same access to taxpayer-funded Congressional Research Service reports that lobbyists and insiders enjoy.  This will encourage and facilitate public engagement in the democratic process.”

Key Points & Highlights

  • Government Accountability Office (GAO).  As Congress’s independent and nonpartisan “watchdog,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits and evaluates federal agencies to improve government efficiency and effectiveness and root out waste, fraud and abuse.  The bill provides $589.7 million for GAO, $10.8 million more than the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.  Funding provided will support an additional 100 FTE for GAO, completing a multi-year effort to fully restore a 10 percent loss in staffing sustained in fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
  • United States Capitol Police.  The United States Capitol Police provides security and law enforcement for the Capitol complex and protection for Members of Congress.  The bill provides $453 million for the United States Capitol Police, $26.5 million more than the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.  This funding will allow the Capitol Police to deploy approximately 92 more officers in accordance with the budget request.  Additional funding is provided in the bill to enhance security for Members of Congress outside of the Capitol campus because, as the 2017 shooting in Alexandria, Va. highlighted, evolving threats include the physical targeting of Members of Congress.
  • Copyright Office.  The Copyright Office protects the ownership of creative content, supporting both small and large businesses in the arts, information, entertainment, and technology sectors.  The bill supports $92.5 million for the Copyright Office, $20.5 million more than the fiscal year 2018 level.  This amount includes $42.6 million in direct appropriations.  This funding begins a long-awaited effort to create electronic systems for copyright registration and recordation and also supports digitization of historic copyright records dating to 1870.
  • Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  The Congressional Budget Office provides objective, timely and non-partisan analyses to inform Congress’s economic and budgetary deliberations.  The bill provides $50.3 million for CBO, $350,000 more than fiscal year 2018 enacted level to continue providing high-quality analyses that are greatly valued by Congress and the public.  Additional funding will enable CBO to hire ten additional staff to support the agency’s plans to provide additional transparency of its modeling and cost estimate processes.
  • Building Safety and Maintenance.  The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) maintains all of the buildings within the Capitol complex to ensure the safety of constituents, visitors, staff, and Members of Congress. The bill provides $509.8 million, $5 million more than the fiscal year 2018 level, excluding items solely pertaining to the House.  This funding will help alleviate part of the deferred maintenance backlog identified by the AOC on both the Capitol campus and at the Library of Congress, including security infrastructure, fire alarm upgrades, and improvements to building egress.
  • Congressional Research Service (CRS).  The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides expert, non-partisan policy and legal analysis to Congress.  The bill provides $123.8 million, $4.5 million more than the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.  This funding continues investments in modernizing the agency’s research platform, including for large datasets, and also begins an effort to restore staffing losses totaling more than 10 percent.  Funding included in the bill also ensures that the agency will have sufficient resources to begin making all non-confidential CRS reports available online, as required by recently-enacted legislation.

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