Legislative Branch Funding Bill Takes Us Back
WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft 2024 Legislative Branch funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation provides annual funding for the Legislative Branch of the United States government, including the United States House of Representatives, the Capitol Police, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Library of Congress.
For 2024, the draft bill appropriates a total of $5.3 billion, a decrease of $252 million or 4.5 percent, under 2023. The legislation:
- Does not include language permitting funds in the Act to be used to employ individuals with an employment authorization document under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.
- Zeroes out funding for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
- Does nothing to facilitate House Resolution 1096, which extends the collective bargaining rights prescribed in the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 to employees of the House of Representatives and restores these rights to Congressional staffers.
“MAGA Republicans are continuing their extreme so-called war on woke with their feeble attempts to union bust and minimize resources that enhance government operations,” Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13) said. “These actions to cut vital funding for programs that support staff unionization, promote diversity, and support immigrant youth in government are setting a dangerous and reckless precedent. I cannot in good conscience or faith vote for a proposal of magnitude that is unfortunately unworkable.”
“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. We made progress last Congress, but this bill takes us backward,” Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) said. “The House Republican playbook is clear. They are cherry-picking the bills they consider easiest to pass so they can continue hiding their biggest promised cuts that will lead to hundreds of thousands of families losing their homes and the child care that helps them keep their jobs, eliminate job training programs that boost our economy, and kick hundreds of local cops off the street. Beyond the fact that we cannot support bills when we only know the smallest piece of the overall funding puzzle, this bill falls short of ensuring we can sustain a strong and well-functioning Legislative Branch that is essential to our democracy."
A summary of the draft 2024 Legislative Branch funding bill is below. The full text of the bill is here. (In keeping with longstanding practice whereby each chamber of Congress determines its own housekeeping requirements and the other concurs without intervention, the bill does not include funds for the Senate or Senate office buildings.) The subcommittee markup will be webcast live and linked from the House Committee on Appropriations website.
House of Representatives – The bill provides a total of $1.851 billion in discretionary appropriations for the House of Representatives including:
- Flat funding or equal to 2023 levels is provided for the following:
- $810 million for the Members Representational Allowance (MRA).
- $36.6 million for the offices of the Majority and Minority Leadership.
- $24.3 million in funding for paid interns for Member, Leadership, and Committee offices.
- $211.9 million for the operations of House committees.
- $10 million for the House Modernization Initiatives Account.
- The elimination of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. This bill zeroes out funding for the office.
The bill also includes funding for the following Agencies:
- $780.9 million for the Capitol Police, an increase of $46.3 million above the 2023 level. This funding will allow for hiring up to 2,204 sworn officers as requested by the department and provides $15 million for retention bonuses.
- $64.6 million for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), an increase of $1.4 million above the 2023 level.
- $843.7 million, an increase of $15.2 million above the 2023 level, for the Library of Congress, including the Copyright Office, Congressional Research Service, and National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled.
- $806 million for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an increase of $15.7 million above the 2023 level.
The bill provides flat funding or decreases for the following Agencies:
- $8 million for the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights, equal to the 2023 level.
- $129.9 million for the Government Publishing Office, equal to the 2023 level.
- $798.1 million for the Architect of the Capitol, a decrease of $332.3 million below the 2023 level.
Important Policy Changes:
- Member Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)— The bill does not include a provision to prevent the increase in the Cost-of-Living Increase for Members of Congress.
- Office of Congressional Workplace Rights – This bill does nothing to facilitate House Resolution 1096, which extends collective bargaining rights prescribed in the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 to employees of the House of Representatives and restores these rights to Congressional staffers.
- Office of Diversity and Inclusion – This bill zeroes out funding for the office.