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advance and support of congressional committee field hearings, political issue conferences, training seminars and conferences, and official special events and funerals. Funds for other services are requested to continue training in the areas of leadership and management, chemical/biological, crisis management, strategic planning, and job specific training.
The FY02 budget request for personnel expenses to support the 82 FTEs authorized is $3,675,000. This increase is due to a FY01 base adjustment, the annualization of the FY01 COLA, prorated FY02 COLA, and longevity and merit increases. I would like to point out I have taken lapse into consideration in the Sergeant at Arms office request for personnel funding.
The total FY02 budget request for the Office of the Sergeant at Arms is $4,083,000. This increase of $391,000 is 10.6% over the amount provided in FY 01.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Committee and I assure you of my desire to cooperate and work with you on all matters of mutual interest. It is my goal to provide quality support services to the House of Representatives while remaining fiscally responsible. I will continue to keep the Committee informed of my activities and will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Statement of Geraldine R. Gennet, General Counsel
Before the Subcommittee on Legislative Appropriations
Regarding Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Request
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: Thank you for the opportunity to present and explain the fiscal year 2002 budget request of the House's Office of General Counsel ("OGC"). For fiscal year 2002, the OGC requests $892,000, which is an increase of $86,000 over its fiscal year 2001 appropriation. The $86,000 increase is comprised of a $41,000 personnel component and a $45,000 equipment component, the justification for each of which is provided below.
Functions of the Office
Pursuant to Rule II(8) of the Rules of the House (107th Cong.) and 2 U.S.C. § 130(f), the OGC provides legal advice and assistance to Members, Committees, officers and employees of the House, without regard to political affiliation, on matters related to their official duties. The office is an independent entity in the House which reports, on policy matters and matters of institutional interest to the House, to the Speaker and the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (consisting of the majority and minority leaders, and the majority and minority whips). While it is impossible to provide an exhaustive list of the types of advice and representation the OGC provides, the office addresses the following areas with some frequency:
Judicial Proceedings: The OGC represents Members, Committees, officers and employees, both as parties and witnesses, in litigation arising from or relating to the performance of their official duties and responsibilities, both at the trial and appellate level. Among other things, the office defends civil actions; moves to quash subpoenas; applies to the District Court for immunity orders; and files amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the House and/or one or more of its constituent entities. By way of example, the office is presently representing the Clerk of the House in a congressional compensation (27th Amendment) case now pending before the 10th Circuit, and in an apportionment-related dispute now pending before a three-judge District Court in Connecticut.
Committee Subpoenas: The OGC provides advice and assistance to House Committees and Subcommittees in connection with the preparation, service and validity of Committee and Subcommittee subpoenas, including advice and assistance in dealing with recalcitrant witnesses.
Requests for Information: The OGC provides advice and representation in connection with responses to informal and formal requests for information (grand jury, trial and deposition subpoenas) from governmental agencies (including the
Counsel), as well as private parties.
Privileges: The OGC reviews, evaluates and provides advice regarding the applicability and waiver of various privileges, such as executive, Fifth Amendment, attorney-client, attorney work product, deliberative process and, most particularly, the Speech or Debate Clause privilege (U.S. Const. art. I, § 6, cl. 1).
Tort Claims: The OGC reviews and evaluates tort claims for administrative resolution and, where appropriate, refers such claims to the Department of Justice for defense under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Constituent Information: The OGC provides advice and assistance to Members and their staffs regarding the maintenance of the confidentiality of constituent communications and information.
Contract Disputes: The OGC assists in resolving major contract disputes
Internal Policy Development: In consultation with the Speaker's office and other leadership offices, the OGC assists in creating and amending internal House policies and regulations.
Formal Legal Opinions: From time to time, the OGC issues formal legal
Parliamentary Matters: Normally in consultation with the Parliamentarian of the House, the OGC provides advice to Committees and Subcommittees on parliamentary issues and other issues involving the interpretation of the Rules of the House.
Justification for Budget Increase
At present, the OGC consists of four lawyers, three legal assistants (one full-time and two part-time) and two support staff. The $41,000 personnel component of the budget increase is based on (a) the expected promotion of the full-time legal assistant - who has just completed law school at Georgetown - to an attorney position when he takes and passes the bar examination, and (b) the anticipated hiring of a new full-time paralegal later in the 2001 fiscal year. The new paralegal will handle several ongoing office projects, including the archiving of closed OGC files using a computerized database program, and the revamping and maintenance of the office's subject matter files. The new paralegal will also assist in the labor-intensive task of responding to wide-ranging document subpoenas which have been served on House Members with increasing frequency of late.
The $45,000 equipment component of the budget increase - which brings to $65,000 the
replace, early in the 2002 fiscal year, 9-11 aging computer workstations and one or two aging
I will be happy to respond to any questions the Subcommittee might have.
JOHN R. MILLER
LAW REVISION COUNSEL OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Subcommittee on Legislative Appropriations
of the House Committee on Appropriations
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, it is a pleasure to appear before you to present the budget request of the Office of the Law Revision Counsel for fiscal year 2002.
I am requesting $2,104,000 for the Office for fiscal year 2002. This is an increase of $59,000 over funding for fiscal year 2001. This increase represents an increase in personnel expenses of $82,000 for cost of living adjustments and $18,000 for meritorious pay increases and a decrease of $41,000 for non-personnel expenses. Funds for nonpersonnel expenses decreased because of complete payoff of 3-year plan amounts, less need for technical support, and decreased equipment and computer software purchases.
For the next several years, the Office will be devoting additional resources to the integration and use of new computer technology in the production of the Code and the redesign and upgrading of our web site. Last year the Office implemented a new electronic text editing system which will be used to produce copy for the 2000 edition. The new system will achieve numerous economies and efficiencies in the future, but improvements in Office production have not yet been realized because the process is in its initial stages and will require refinement and enhancement over the next few years. In addition, it will take time for the staff to become proficient and productive in its use. Another major project this year is to redesign our web site to make it independent of the House Information Resources mainframe computer and then upgrade it. Over the past three years, HIR has had several proposals for migration of the web site from the mainframe computer, but they have not developed or implemented any of the proposals. Last September HIR informed the Office that the web site had to be migrated off of the mainframe computer by September 2001. Finally, as other congressional Offices and the Government Printing Office convert their publishing formats to XML, it becomes imperative that our Office also converts to XML. This is a particularly difficult and time