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OVERALL APPROPRIATION REQUEST The budget we are going to consider totals $2.1 billion. The total does not include Senate items, which will be considered in the other body.
Of the portion of this budget which will be considered by the Subcommittee, $1.28 billion is for Congressional Operations alone. The balance of the funds requested, which totals $808 million, support statutory, administrative, and other kinds of activities of the Legislative Branch which are performed for the Executive Branch and for the public-at-large. These activities include such agencies as the Library of Congress, the Copyright Royalty Tribunal, the Government Printing Office, and the General Accounting Office. We should point out that there is far more than $2.1 billion in appropriations included. There are a number of other activities managed by the agencies covered by our bill—a number of trust and gift funds, the copyright royalty fund, which is about $600 million itself, service fees and other reimbursements.
There is also the Government Printing Office revolving fund which is the method GPO uses to provide printing services for the entire Federal government. Under Title XLIV and the Government Corporations Act, we annually authorize the operation of this fund. That is almost $1 billion, which is not scored against the bill because it is derived from charges to other agency appropriations. The actual funding covered by the agencies in the Legislative Branch, therefore, is not $2.1 billion (plus the Senate), but over $4.7 billion estimated for fiscal year 1993. So the sum and the scope of these activities are much larger than most realize.
FY 93 COMPARED WITH FY 92 I would like to make some comparisons from last year's bill. Last year the fiscal year 1992 bill was an increase of about 4.1 percent over the fiscal year 1991 appropriations for Legislative Branch activities. These funds are primarily for staff and computers. We do not have a large hardware or grant program in this particular bill. This is primarily an administrative operation. We occasionally have some capital outlay related to the Architect's budget, however, in most cases we are talking about people and the supplies, equipment, and other things that 'make the Members and Staff more productive and efficient.
LEGISLATIVE BRANCH COMPARED WITH EXECUTIVE BRANCH I would like to compare our budget with several comparable Executive Branch personnel intensive programs and indicate what their increases were last year to put in perspective the increase in the Legislative budget. In the Executive Office of the President, the Office of Policy Development had a 9 percent increase last year, the Office of Management and Budget had a 7.4 percent increase, the departmental management at the Department of Education had a 6.5 percent increase, the departmental offices at the Department of Treasury had a 10 percent increase last year, the Administration of Foreign Affairs at the Department of State went up 18.9 percent, and the departmental offices at the Department of Interior went up 14.7 percent last year.
There are many other Executive Branch increases of similar magnitude. We in the Legislative Branch take a lot of criticism for what we spend on ourselves. I know how hard we try to restrain those expenditures. Most of you who watch this Subcommittee realize how tough it is, whatever number we take to the Floor. The comparisons I have just given are an attempt on my part to indicate that we are doing an effective job when you compare us to comparable activities in the Executive Branch.
REBUTTAL ON CRITICISM OF LEGISLATIVE BILL
I would also like to rebut some apparent criticism we have had from a recent article that appeared in the Congressional Quarterly. They called this bill "a monument to obfuscation" "convoluted." I take exception to those terms and the conclusion intended by the article that we are hiding our expenditures. Our Congressional expenditures are probably more widely disclosed-in more detailand more intensely scrutinized by the press—than any other agency of government-or business or any other institution that I can think of, including those larger cabinet agencies in the Federal government.
Here in the report issued every three months by the Clerk of the House of Representatives is over 1,900 pages of every expenditure made by every Member of the House, every Committee of the House, and every administrative office in great detail.
It is certainly not an arcane report, and it can't be described as an effort to hide our expenses. Annual financial disclosure reports are filed with the Clerk by members and senior staff as required by statute and are available to the press and public upon request.
The article complained that we have five appropriation accounts that fund Committees. For some reason that was used as an example of obfuscation in the appropriations process.
Well, we do fund Committees from several accounts, depending upon the purpose funded. One account is the core professional staff authorized for each House standing Committee by House Rule XI. Each salary expenditure from that account can be identified in the Clerk's report.
Another account is for the investigative funds required by each Committee. These are the non-legislative activities of the Committees and include Aging, Hunger, and other Special Committees that do not have legislative jurisdiction. These are activities separate from those authorized by House Rule XI. That appropriation is based on the authorization approved each year by the House made in the annual Administration Committee funding resolution. Each of those expenditures is detailed in the Clerk's report. The Allowances and Expenses appropriation contains funds for stationery and stenographic reporting of committee hearings. Those expenditures are detailed in the Clerk's report.
We have separate investigative funds appropriated for the Appropriations Committee and the Budget Committee. Each of these have been authorized by separate legislation enacted many years ago. Their distinction has been maintained by the House in order to keep the studies that support the business of appropriating and the budget resolutions free of the pressures that sometimes come into the authorizing-appropriations trade-offs.
Every one of those transactions is also printed in the Clerk's report. This isn't hiding anything, or obfuscating, and it is not fair to describe it that way. If we wanted to hide it would be a lot easier for us to just bury everything into one massive account that would probably be impenetrable to anybody who wished to find out any fundamental information. To those who feel we are being arcane or obscure I suggest they compare this Committee's process to the Defense bill accounts or the large departmental administrative accounts in other Executive Branch agencies with our account structure.
Ours is easily the more detailed, more easily documented, more widely disclosed and our transactions are reported in much more detail. Where do you find comparable data on travel expenditures, individual contracts, salaries paid and consultant fees? Not one other large agency in government is as open or reveals as much of its operations and expenses as the Congress does.
So some observers just carp or accuse the Congress of being “obscure", but the facts are otherwise. I am pleased that we have press here today, particularly the type of members of the press corps who do spend a good deal of time on the agencies of this branch of government, and who do write extensively about it. They never seem to be short of material to include in their stories.
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE BRANCH BUDGET RESTRAINT
It is also important to note the history of restraint we have imposed on the Legislative budget over the years. We have kept our budget well below the growth in the Executive budget. Fiscal year 1982 was my first year as Chairman of this subcommittee. Since then, the annual compound rate of growth in the legislative appro priation has been 6.4 percent. The comparable growth rate in overall Federal funds outlays during this same time period has been 6.9 percent. The general government function of the Federal budget, which is dominated by executive direction and management in the Executive Branch, and which requires personnel intensive resources more comparable to those in the Legislative Branch, has grown at 8 percent per year on average. That is a 25-percent higher annual rate of growth than the Legislative budget. As we go through these hearings, we will review each request carefully and ask whether or not it is essential to the workings of the Legislative Branch, or can be cut back.
The fiscal year 1993 budget does represent an increase over 1992 appropriations. However, the Committee will undoubtedly make reductions when we mark the bill up just as we do every year. We should remember that the Legislative budget is much behind the growth in the other areas of the Federal budget. It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain this type of restraint on the Legislative budget year after year. After all, we are one-third of the government under the Constitution, a key component of the checks and balances concept that is fundamental to our democratic process. We must protect our ability to conduct these checks and balances, to perform our legislative mission, and to oversee the vast activities and expenditures of the entire Federal government.
There are those who do not believe that the legislature should have the resources to do its job or to oversee the activities of the other branches of government. Some people have taken exception to funding a number of agencies that play that critical role. But that is exactly what our duty is under the Constitution. We can't buckle under the imposition of an artificially severe constraint over our ability to govern and to legislate. We cannot let that happen. I hope other members of the committee share my concerns. These hearings are designed to ferret out the necessary from the desirable or even the frivolous. I believe our record shows we do that, and I don't think I need to point out to most of you that there isn't an OMB between the agencies and the Legislative Branch and this Subcommittee. The fact that we are having our hearings today based on what is a draft or unofficial version of the budget is simply indicative of the fact that the budget submitted by the Legislative Branch agencies are, by law, passed directly to this Committee and not altered by the Executive Branch.
COMMENTS IN RESPONSE TO RALPH NADER ATTACK ON CONGRESS Before we begin, there is one more subject I want to mention just briefly. Last year, Ralph Nader and one of his research groups attacked the Congress for not imposing environmentally sound practices, indicating we were not environmentally conscious, that we do not use recycled paper are not energy efficient, and so forth in our own operations.
Because our record is so good in that regard-because his report was so faulty—because it was just the typical kind of Congressbashing we usually get from Mr. Nader-we did try to set the record straight with him. We sent him a long, wellresearched paper
outlining our activities over the years in this area, including the efforts of John Porter and myself to get the GPO to use recycled paper. Now, over 96 percent of printing and writing papers meet or exceed the EPA standards, and recycled newsprint, GPO just awarded a large contract for the Congressional Record and the Federal Register. We cited our directive to the Architect of the Capitol to study the use of energy-efficient lighting using criteria reported in a recent study by the Office of Technology Assessment.
We are testing actual energy-efficient lighting in this hearing room and other places in the Capitol complex. We pointed out to Mr. Nader: -our installation of solar collectors at the Ford House Office
Building, our use of recycled products provided to Members' offices by the House stationery room now over 50 percent of letter paper,
envelopes, etc., -our water and sewage metering program which has enabled us
to save on our reimbursements to the District government, - the installation of a baghouse and filters at the power plant to
control air contaminants, -our conversion from oil to coal burners at the power plant,
our $10 million program to remove PCB's from building trans
formers, -our direction to the Architect to inaugurate an office waste
recycling program, and -our asbestos removal project at the General Accounting Office
headquarters building. I am going to insert this lengthy response to Mr. Nader in the record. I commend it to all who are concerned about our environment and are interested in what the Congress is doing in its own precincts to set an example. I have gone into this because we tend to hear a lot more about the charges, and absolutely nothing about the refutation of them, which ought to be on the record.
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