The House Appropriations Legislative Branch subcommittee on Wednesday released its second 2015 spending bill, covering the operations of the legislative branch. The bill, crafted under the leadership of new subcommittee head Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), has the same level of overall spending as this year but shifts money from construction to operating budgets.
As in past years, the bill freezes the pay of rank-and-file lawmakers at $174,000 per year.
Overall, the bill spends $3.3 billion, not including for operations of the Senate. It cuts $40.5 million in construction costs from the Architect of the Capitol in order to increase funds for the Capitol Police, Library of Congress and Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Sequestration has caused the Capitol Police to shutter some entrances to Capitol buildings, to the irritation of many lawmakers.
The police get $9.5 million more, while the GAO gets $14.2 million to ramp up its auditing activities.
“This bill will help ensure the efficiency, safety and openness of our institution for those who serve here and for those who travel from across the country to visit every day,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said.
The bill will be marked up in subcommittee on Thursday and was released the same day as the military construction and Veterans Affairs title.
Appropriators are trying to get a jump start on the spending process for this year in order to pass all 12 bills through the House by August. The early start has been made possible by a December budget agreement setting $1.014 trillion as the topline level for 2015 discretionary spending.
The two bills released Wednesday are, by far, the easiest the committee must tackle.