Report text available as:

(PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip?

                                                 Union Calendar No. 245
112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    112-360




 December 30, 2011.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed


   Mr. Daniel E. Lungren of California, from the Committee on House 
                Administration, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS


    The Committee on House Administration is charged with the 
oversight of federal elections and the day-to-day operations of 
the House of Representatives. With the 112th Congress, two 
subcommittees were added to the Committee's jurisdiction: the 
Subcommittee on Elections, which examines issues related to 
elections and voting systems, and the Subcommittee on 
Oversight, which focuses on identifying and reducing wasteful 
spending within House operations and establishing best 
practices to help improve services to the House community.

                           COMMITTEE FUNDING

    Under House rule X, clause 6, the Committee on House 
Administration is charged with the responsibility of reporting 
an expense resolution to grant authorization for the expenses, 
including salaries, of the select and standing committees of 
the House. On March 9, 2011, the Committee met and unanimously 
agreed to a motion to favorably report H. Res. 147, which 
combined the standing and select committees' initial budget 
requests for the 112th Congress. Section 3(c) of the resolution 
stipulated that none of the funds for the second session may be 
made available after March 15, 2012, until the Chairs and 
Ranking Members appeared and presented testimony before House 
Administration to review the use of funds in the first session.
    On July 22, 2011, the House passed H.R. 2551, the 
Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2012. This bill 
appropriates $125,964,870 for salaries and expenses of the 
standing and select committees for 2012. That amount represents 
a 6.4% reduction from the 2011 appropriation level for 
committee budgets.
    To meet the section 3(c) requirement of H. Res. 147, on 
November 30, 2011, the Committee held an oversight hearing to 
review the budgets for all the standing and select committees 
(except the Committee on Appropriations) in 2011, and to review 
budget planning for 2012. During the hearing, Committee members 
asked the Chairs and Ranking Members about how each committee 
operated with their lower budgets and whether the committees 
could continue to perform their responsibilities with future 
cuts to their budgets. Each committee was also questioned on 
whether they have held to the practice of giving the minority 
one-third of the committee's budget.
    On December 14, 2011, Chairman Lungren introduced a second 
committee funding resolution, H. Res. 496, to adjust committee 
authorization levels. This was done to ensure that committee 
budgets were changed based on the lowered level of appropriated 
funds provided for 2012. On December 16, 2011, the Committee, 
by voice vote, agreed to a motion to favorably report the 
resolution to the House.


    The Committee, along with the Committee on Ethics, issued a 
joint Dear Colleague letter to Member offices on the use of 
official resources and House Rules pertaining to redistricting. 
The guidance reminded Members that they cannot send franked 
mail into the areas that are outside of their current 
districts. The Committee also sent a Dear Colleague letter to 
Member offices to remind them about the policies and procedures 
governing the advance payment of expenses and the obligation of 
funds specific to year-end purchases. Committee staff drafted 
updates to the Members' Congressional Handbook. On December 16, 
2011, the Committee adopted the updated Members' Congressional 
Handbook by voice vote.


    In June, the Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards 
(``Franking Commission'') sent a survey to Member offices to 
get feedback from Member offices on franking regulations and 
processes. Survey results will be used to evaluate possible 
updates to the franking regulations, services and resources.
    In July, the Commission held a business meeting. During the 
meeting, the Commission agreed to begin drafting updates to the 
Franking Manual. The Commission also agreed to update the 
Commission's website in order to move to a web-based submission 
and review system.


Officers of the House

    One of the key responsibilities of the Committee is to 
provide oversight of the Officers of the House, whose 
organizations serve primary roles in the operation of the 
legislative process and in providing the day to day 
administrative and operational infrastructure necessary to 
support the Members and staff of the House.
            Clerk of the House
    The Office of the Clerk is charged with overseeing nine 
departments including the Office of Art and Archives, the 
Legislative Resource Center, and the Office of Official 
Reporters, but the Clerk's primary responsibilities reside with 
the legislative activities of the House. This includes managing 
the legislative bills originating in the House as well as 
overseeing the voting system.
    On July 28, 2011, the Clerk changed the dissemination 
method for the Legislative Activity Guides (LAGs) from mailed 
printed copies to emailed PDFs. The LAG has historically been a 
paper document consisting of each Member's cumulative voting 
record, as well as a summary of the legislative actions of the 
House. This new electronic version saves more than 350,000 
sheets of paper each Congress and saves the House thousands of 
dollars every year.
    The Clerk's Office also made significant improvements to website and provided technical leadership for the 
development of the Standards for the Electronic Posting of 
House and Committee Documents & Data. The Clerk worked with the 
Majority Leader, the Committee on Rules, the Parliamentarian, 
and the House Administration Committee to support a new and 
more transparent process for House documents in the second 
session of this Congress. The Office of the Clerk is working 
with five pilot committees to capture requirements for Phase 2 
involving posting of committee documents.
            Sergeant at Arms
    Oversight of the House Sergeant at Arms (HSAA) and the 
United States Capitol Police (USCP) continues to be a major 
focus for the Committee. The two offices are responsible for 
providing security to the Capitol grounds, Members and visitors 
to the Capitol.
    The Committee directed the HSAA to plan and execute 
multiple emergency response drills for all of the House Office 
Buildings and several alternate chamber exercises. These 
exercises validated current emergency response planning and 
execution capabilities and the HSAA and USCP's ability to 
manage a crisis. The USCP continues to work on systems to 
reduce the time between an actual emergency and the 
notification of Members, staff and visitors of important 
    During the past six months, the HSAA continued to 
facilitate security enhancements for Member District offices 
with vulnerability assessments conducted by ADT with additional 
options for enhanced security systems. To date, 254 Members 
have requested vulnerability assessments and all have been 
completed. In addition to the security enhancements, the HSAA 
has continued the Law Enforcement Coordinator program with 99 
percent of the Member district offices assigning a coordinator 
to establish security arrangements for Member events.
    On December 1, 2011, the Honorable Wilson ``Bill'' 
Livingood, the House Sergeant at Arms, announced his retirement 
after 17 years of service as the chief law enforcement and 
protocol officer of the House.
            Chief Administrative Officer
    The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) 
provides all support functions for the House. The office 
supports the budget, finance, procurement, facilities, and 
information technology needs of the House and all of its 
components. The Committee is charged with overseeing the CAO's 
    With the direction and coordination of the Committee, much 
of the CAO's focus was on cost savings and process improvements 
for the House community. The CAO was successful in re-bidding 
the House's mail contract which resulted in a savings of $56 
million over the eight-year life of the contract.
    Over the last several months, the Committee worked closely 
with the CAO to examine the House's enterprise-wide and 
individual office subscriptions to see where savings could be 
achieved. The CAO cancelled some underutilized services 
resulting in a savings of $195,000 for FY11 and $1.2 million 
for FY12. The Committee directed the CAO to negotiate with 
other providers as well, obtaining lower rates that will assist 
House offices.
    The Committee worked extensively with the CAO over the last 
six months on the expansion of the House's Purchase Card 
Program. The program was expanded by twenty-five offices in 
December 2011, bringing the total participant level to sixty. 
The program is designed to help reduce office operating costs 
by streamlining and improving office purchasing and financial 

House Information Resources

    Throughout the second half of 2011, HIR worked with the 
Committee to improve technological services for the House 
community. Three hundred eighteen House Offices now participate 
in the House Cloud, which provides a centralized, secure and 
highly available computer infrastructure.
    The Committee worked with HIR to permit the use of popular, 
free video teleconferencing services (ooVoo and Skype) that 
allow Members to communicate with constituents in real time.
    HIR continued to install wireless access points across the 
House Office Buildings and the House side of the Capitol. 
Member Offices, public spaces, and committee staff spaces have 
been completed with over 750 access points installed to date. 
This network supports both public and internal wireless access.

Inspector General

    House Rule II creates the Office of the Inspector General 
(OIG) and charges the Committee with oversight of the office.
    During the second half of the year the OIG, with the 
approval and support of the Committee, produced four management 
advisory reports and ten audit reports. The OIG thoroughly 
reviewed the House Purchase Card Program to ensure its policies 
and procedures manuals and training modules are accurate and 
    The OIG also released the audit of the House's Fiscal Year 
2010 Financial Statements on September 21, 2011. The House 
received an unqualified or ``clean'' opinion on its financial 
statements for the thirteenth year in a row. However, it 
received an adverse opinion on its internal controls over 
financial reporting. This is the same opinion the House 
received for Fiscal Year 2009 and it results from the lack of a 
management control program along with weaknesses in controls 
over information security. These deficiencies were noted in 
previous audits. The current CAO, appointed in July 2010, has 
been working to implement the Inspector General's 
recommendations and ensure the FY11 audit will receive an 
unqualified opinion in all respects.

The Architect of the Capitol

    The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is responsible for the 
maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of the 
entire Capitol Complex, which includes 17.4 million square feet 
of buildings and more than 460 acres of land. The Committee is 
charged with overseeing the AOC.
    In August, with the help of the Committee, the Architect of 
the Capitol's Office of Energy and Sustainability assumed and 
expanded the House of Representatives' sustainability 
initiatives formerly conducted by the Office of the Chief 
Administrative Officer.
    On October 6, 2011, at the direction of the Committee, the 
AOC entered into a new waste removal contract that diverts up 
to 90 percent of the Capitol Complex's non-recyclable solid 
waste from landfills through the utilization of local waste-to-
energy facilities. The decision to send non-recyclable solid 
waste from Congressional facilities--an estimated 5,300 tons 
annually--to waste-to-energy facilities was based on a thorough 
analysis conducted by AOC's Office of Energy and 
Sustainability. When compared to composting, waste-to-energy 
was proven a more cost-effective alternative. The Environmental 
Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy and the 
Federal Energy Management Program all consider waste-to-energy 
as an environmentally responsible means of solid waste 
disposal. The new contract is expected to save taxpayers 
approximately $60,000 annually.
    Committee staff and representatives from Leadership and the 
AOC have been working through the planning phases and spreading 
awareness among Members and staff of major renovations of the 
Cannon House Office Building scheduled to begin in 2016.

Capitol Visitor Center

    The responsibility for the Capitol Visitor Center's (CVC) 
operations and maintenance resides with the Architect of the 
Capitol. The Committee on House Administration and the Senate 
Committee on Rules and Administration provide policy review and 
oversight of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
    The CVC performed a number of enhancement projects. 
Modifications were made to widen the Orientation Theater doors 
to eliminate an accessibility barrier for oversize wheelchairs, 
strollers and scooters; a new life-cycle program was 
established for the heavily-used audio listening devices; and 
the North and South Congressional Meeting Rooms were upgraded 
with current audio-visual technology. Additionally, at the 
direction of the Committee, the CVC began the procurement 
process for adding additional lighting on the ``In God We 
Trust'' engraving in Emancipation Hall to make the inscription 
easier to view by visitors. As a result of this directive, a 
study was commenced to examine further lighting enhancement 
opportunities for the entirety of Exhibition Hall. The findings 
of this study will be released in early 2012.

Office of Congressional Accessibility Services

    The Office of Congressional Accessibility Services (OCAS) 
was created by The Capitol Visitor Center Act of 2008. OCAS 
operates under the direction of the Congressional Accessibility 
Services Board and is charged with providing and coordinating 
accessibility services for individuals with disabilities 
including Members of Congress, officers and employees of the 
House and Senate, and visitors in the U.S. Capitol Complex. The 
Committee on House Administration is charged with overseeing 
the agency and meets with OCAS staff monthly.
    During the last six months, OCAS has worked with the 
Committee and the CVC to ensure the CVC experience is as 
accessible as possible. OCAS initiatives and projects include: 
improving the accessibility signage inside and outside the CVC, 
adding an audio descriptive tour for visitors in Exhibition 
Hall, training new guides on accessibility features and 
services, adding additional door openers at the CVC entrance, 
and posting maps to the CVC website that display accessible 

Library of Congress

    Close to 200 total employees separated from the Library by 
accepting VSIP/VERA. The Library is still working to meet its 
final FY2012 appropriation levels and is also anticipating 
further reduced appropriations in upcoming fiscal years.
    The ``Little Scholars Center'' is located at 601 E. Capitol 
St., SE (formerly St. Cecilia's Academy). A proposed renovation 
would completely renovate the day care center and the rest of 
the facility to hold 50 residential units for a new Residential 
Scholars Center to provide affordable housing for visiting 
Library scholars across service units. All funding has been 
raised through the Library's Madison Council. If approved, the 
entire project will take about three years.

The Joint Committee on the Library

    The Librarian of Congress, as directed by statute, 
consulted with the JCL regarding the appointment of the new 
Director of the Congressional Research Service. Former Director 
Dan Mulhollan stepped down as Director in the spring. Dr. Mary 
Mazanec was appointed Acting Director in April and was then 
appointed the new Director in December.

Joint Committee on Printing and U.S. Government Printing Office

    The Government Printing Office (GPO) produces, preserves 
and distributes the official publications and information 
products of Congress and the Federal Government. The Committee 
has oversight of and legislative jurisdiction over the 
Government Printing Office.
    The Joint Committee on Printing directed the Government 
Printing Office to acquire the Uniform Resource Locator The digital version of the 
Congressional Directory can now be found online at this site.
    The JCP also directed the creation of unique online 
addresses and applications to increase the digital presence of 
Congressional publications. As a result, the Government 
Printing Office acquired the URLs and and the Committee on House 
Administration worked with the GPO to release its first mobile 
Web application.
    Members, Committees and Administrative offices were 
surveyed to allow them to opt out of delivery of specific 
publications. In 2011, there was an 18 percent decrease in the 
number of printed Congressional Records and a 7.5 percent 
decrease in the number of printed Federal Registers as a result 
of the survey.

House Fine Arts Board

    The House Fine Arts Board (FAB) was established in 1988. 
The Fine Arts Board is comprised of the five House members of 
the Joint Committee on the Library. It has authority over works 
of fine art and historical objects that are the property of 
Congress and are for display in the House wing of the Capitol 
or in the House Office Buildings.
    The Board approves all portraits of Committee chairmen in 
the House. In the last six months, Congressman Charles B. 
Rangel's portrait was delivered to the House Collection of 
Committee Chairmen and Chairwomen in accordance with the Rules 
of the House. Requests were made on behalf of Representatives 
John L. Mica, George Miller, Ralph M. Hall, and Juanita 
Millender-McDonald to authorize to organize portrait fund 


    The Committee serves as the primary legislative and 
oversight body for the Smithsonian Institution (SI), a federal 
trust instrumentality composed of 19 museums, numerous research 
centers, and the National Zoo.
    Committee staff conducted two site visits. In September, 
Committee staff visited the Smithsonian Conservation Biology 
Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. In October, Committee staff 
toured the Arts and Industries Building and received a briefing 
from Smithsonian staff on the status of the building's 
renovations, which have cost approximately $55 million to date.

Office of Compliance

    The Office of Compliance (OOC) was created by the 
Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) to facilitate the 
application of statutes identified in the CAA to Congress. The 
Committee has oversight over the OOC, and bipartisan Committee 
staff meets monthly with OOC leadership to discuss OOC 
initiatives and any issues arising in the course of OOC 


    On November 3, 2011, the Committee held an oversight 
hearing on the policies, processes and procedures of the 
Federal Election Commission (FEC). The Committee focused 
extensively on manuals and enforcement policies used by the FEC 
and not disclosed to the public, and threatened to use its 
subpoena power to make the manuals public if the Commission did 
not act. The Committee also reviewed the status of some of the 
FEC's pending revisions to its regulations. The FEC voluntarily 
provided all requested materials to the Committee, and they are 
under review by the Committee to determine the best course of 
action to make them publicly available wherever possible.
    Continuing legislative efforts begun earlier in the year, 
Chairman Harper of the Elections Subcommittee introduced a bill 
with Representative Cole, H.R. 3463, to eliminate the Election 
Assistance Commission on the same terms contained in H.R. 672 
and to eliminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund on the 
same terms contained in H.R. 359. The bill would save taxpayers 
approximately $480 million over five years. The House 
considered H.R. 3463 under a rule on December 1, 2011, and it 
passed by a vote of 235-190.


Congressional Internship Program for Individuals with Intellectual 

    Established by Representative Gregg Harper in the spring of 
2010 and administered by the Committee on House Administration, 
the Congressional Internship Program for Individuals with 
Intellectual Disabilities provides students with varying 
intellectual disabilities an opportunity to gain congressional 
work experience. The program, which includes spring, summer and 
fall sessions, pairs congressional offices with students from 
George Mason University's Mason LIFE Program--a postsecondary 
education program for young adults with intellectual 
disabilities. In 2010, the program started as a pilot with six 
House offices participating. By December 2011, 44 Congressional 
offices have participated in the program.


    On November 3, 2011, the Subcommittee on Elections of the 
Committee on House Administration held an oversight hearing 
entitled ``Federal Election Commission: Reviewing Policies, 
Processes and Procedures.'' The Subcommittee met to hear 
testimony from The Honorable Cynthia L. Bauerly, Chair of the 
Federal Election Commission, The Honorable Caroline C. Hunter, 
Vice Chair of the Federal Election Commission, and 
Commissioners Donald F. McGahn, Matthew Petersen, Steven 
Walther, and Ellen Weintraub.
    On November 30, 2011, the Committee on House Administration 
held an oversight hearing entitled ``Review of the Use of 
Committee Funds of the 112th Congress.'' The Committee met to 
hear testimony from the Chairs and Ranking Members of the 
standing and select committees regarding the use of authorized 
funds for the 112th Congress.
    On December 19, 2011, the Committee on House Administration 
met to mark up legislation. The Committee agreed to favorably 
report H. Res. 496, adjusting the amount provided for the 
expenses of certain committees of the House of Representatives 
in the 112th Congress, to the House by voice vote. The 
Committee adopted Committee Resolution 112-9, Adoption of 
Standards for the Electronic Posting of House and Committee 
Documents & Data, by voice vote. Lastly, the Committee adopted 
Committee Resolution 112-10, Adoption of the Members' 
Congressional Handbook, by voice vote.


    On June 3, 2011, the House considered H. Res. 299, a 
resolution permitting official photographs of the House of the 
Representatives to be taken while the House is in session. The 
House passed the measure by unanimous consent.
    On September 21, 2011, the House considered S. Con. Res. 
28, a resolution authorizing the use of Emancipation Hall in 
the Capitol Visitor Center for an event to award the 
Congressional Gold Medal to the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd 
Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service, 
United States Army, in recognition of their dedicated service 
during World War II, under suspension of the rules. The House 
passed the measure by a vote of 424-0.
    On October 3, 2011, the House considered S. Con. Res. 29, a 
resolution authorizing the use of the rotunda for an event to 
present the Congressional Gold Medal to Neil A. Armstrong, 
Edwin E. ``Buzz'' Aldrin, Jr., Michael Collins, and John 
Herschel Glenn, Jr., under suspension of the rules. The House 
passed the measure by voice vote.
    On December 1, 2011, the House considered H.R. 3463, to 
reduce Federal spending and the deficit by terminating taxpayer 
financing of presidential election campaigns and party 
conventions and by terminating the Election Assistance 
Commission, under a closed rule. The House passed the measure 
by a vote of 235-190.
    On December 13, 2011, the House considered H.R. 3630, the 
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011, under a 
closed rule. The House passed the measure by a vote of 234-193.
    On December 19, 2011, the House considered H. Res. 497, to 
provide for the placement of a statue or bust of Sir Winston 
Churchill in the United States Capitol, under suspension of the 
Rules. The House adopted the resolution by voice vote.

                               APPENDIX A

     Committee Resolutions Adopted During the Period of This Report

                            DOCUMENTS & DATA

                      (Committee Resolution 112-9)

                       Adopted December 19, 2011


                     (Committee Resolution 112-10)

                       Adopted December 19, 2011

                             MINORITY VIEWS

    Federal election oversight remained a principal Committee 
focus for the second half of the first session of the 112th 
Congress. The Committee supported several bad bills whose 
provisions ultimately passed the House but did not become law, 
and also held a general oversight hearing on the operations of 
the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

                 Voter Suppression in the 2012 Election

    There is a ``War on Voting'' being waged throughout the 
country. The 2010 election results, which gave Republicans 
complete control of many state governments, allowed them to 
take many detrimental initiatives. The Committee, in its 
hearings in the Subcommittee on Elections, has been an enabler 
in this process, especially through its efforts to abolish the 
Election Assistance Committee (EAC). Although the House wisely 
declined to pass legislation to abolish the EAC earlier this 
year, a later bill combining its provisions with a bill to 
destroy the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, a bill which 
was never marked up nor subject to a single hearing in this 
committee, (H.R. 3463) was passed by the House on December 1, 
2011. Fortunately the Senate has not joined in this error.
    State legislatures across the country are making it harder 
for eligible voters to exercise their constitutionally 
protected right to cast a ballot. The number of states pushing 
legislation to require voter IDs has quadrupled since 2010 and 
the number considering proof of citizenship laws has doubled. 
States are also making voter registration harder, imposing 
arbitrary and valueless restrictions on voter drives and making 
it harder for voters to stay registered after moving. Nine 
states have introduced bills to reduce early and absentee 
voting periods.
    The Democratic Members of the Committee on House 
Administration joined with the Democratic Caucus in a letter to 
all secretaries of states and chief election officials 
expressing concern that the bipartisan consensus and 
partnership between all levels of government, which for decades 
has been a central principle of election administration, is 
deteriorating. The letter called on the secretaries of state, 
who are the chief administrator of elections for almost all 
states, to ensure that the franchise is effectively extended to 
all of our eligible citizens.
    The Federal Election Commission and the Election Assistance 
Commission were designed to play separate but critical roles in 
our elections. Destructive Supreme Court decisions and lenient 
and vague campaign finance disclosure laws, coupled with a 
systemic attack on voting rights at the state level, are 
threatening our democracy. The twin missions of the FEC and the 
EAC help voters and state and local election officials alike 
navigate this landscape. Unfortunately, one agency has been 
undermined by partisan infighting and the other by Senate 
Republicans' reckless and unprecedented assault on the 
nomination process. Reforms are overdue for each agency, 
necessary reforms that would allow them to carry out their 
missions and protect the integrity of American elections and 
the right to vote. Indeed, Representative Gonzalez sponsored 
H.R. 1937, the EAC Reform Act by to reauthorize EAC and provide 
it with precisely the types of reforms that the Majority has 
long claimed executive branch agencies need.

              Subcommittee on Elections Oversight Hearing


    On November 3, 2011, the Subcommittee conducted an 
oversight hearing on FEC operations. Commissioner Cynthia 
Bauerly and Commissioner Caroline Hunter provided written 
testimony and opening statements, and all six commissioners 
answered questions from the Committee. This was an important 
hearing as on two separate occasions this year--floor 
consideration H.R. 672 and H.R. 3463--Republican Members 
brought to the House legislation that would force the already 
overburdened and underperforming FEC to take on additional 
responsibilities currently handled by the Election Assistance 
    Recently, a pattern of partisan gridlock and an overly 
politicized rulemaking procedure often prevented the Commission 
from taking actions essential to its role. This inability to 
perform official actions has affected each category of FEC 
action: enforcements, audits, regulations, and advisory 
opinions. A deadlocked and inefficient FEC is another component 
of the War on Voting that Committee Democrats have been 
    Representative Chris Van Hollen filed a lawsuit challenging 
the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations that have 
undermined the campaign finance disclosure requirements 
established in the McCain-Feingold law to require groups to 
disclose the donors who pay for ``electioneering 
    The absence of transparency will enable special interest 
groups to bankroll campaign initiatives while operating under a 
veil of anonymity. Committee Democrats will continue to press 
for greater donor disclosure in the courts, and in Congress, in 
order to bring in the much-needed sunlight. Congressional 
Republicans succeeding in blocking the enactment of enhanced 
disclosure requirements the House passed in the 111th Congress 
and the Committee has made no effort in the 112th Congress to 
address the problems of under-regulated corporate money playing 
an oversized role in our elections. Worse, even the 
requirements in existing law have been significantly weakened 
by the FEC's interpretation. The Van Hollen lawsuit seeks to 
restore the statutory requirement that provides greater 
disclosure of the donors who provide funding for electioneering 
communications. If this standard had been adhered to, much of 
the more than $135 million in secret contributions that funded 
expenditures in the 2010 congressional races would have been 
disclosed to the public.
    The law requires the disclosure of the identity and 
contribution amounts of donors who fund electioneering 
communications. By limiting this requirement to donations 
``made for the purpose of furthering electioneering 
communications'' by the spender, FEC has given a free pass for 
contribution disclosure that is nowhere in the statute. 
Congress did not include a ``state of mind'' or ``purpose'' 
condition tied to ``furthering electioneering communications'' 
in the relevant McCain-Feingold disclosure provision. The FEC 
has contravened the plain language and meaning of the statute 
and gutted the contribution disclosure requirements for 
``electioneering communications.''
    Representative Van Hollen also filed a petition with the 
FEC which asks the agency to conduct a rulemaking proceeding to 
adopt new regulations that would require organizations which 
make ``independent expenditures'' to also disclose the identity 
of their donors. The petition points out that the FEC 
regulations implementing the contribution disclosure 
requirements for ``independent expenditures'' are similarly 
contrary to the law and have similarly gutted the statutory 
contribution disclosure requirements for ``independent 
    Representative Van Hollen filed this FEC petition rather 
than bringing a lawsuit, because unlike the case of the more 
recent ``electioneering communications'' regulations, the six-
year statute of limitations bars a direct challenge of the 
``independent expenditure'' regulations in court. In order to 
challenge these regulations that misinterpret the statutory 
requirements that pertain to ``independent expenditures'', 
Representative Van Hollen must first file a petition for 
rulemaking and give the FEC an opportunity to address the 
problems raised by the petition.
    The FEC considered this Petition on December 15, 2011, but 
unfortunately, deadlocked on a 3/3 vote on proceeding to a new 
rulemaking. In consultation and cooperation with Committee 
Democrats, Representative Van Hollen is reviewing their action 
and will determine whether to bring a lawsuit in Federal Court 
to compel the FEC to reconsider its regulations on the donor 
disclosure of independent expenditures.

      Abolition of Presidential Public Financing Fund and the EAC

    The House on December 1, 2011, passed H.R. 3463, a hybrid 
of two bills considered earlier in this Congress: H.R. 359, 
which would have ended public financing of presidential 
campaign and party nominating conventions by abolishing the 
Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) and H.R. 672, which 
would have abolished the EAC but, fortunately, failed under 
suspension of the rules.
    The PECF was enacted after Watergate to reduce the 
influence of money in politics. Due to technological 
innovation, raising large sums of money from many small 
contributions has been made easier, thereby allowing candidates 
to secure the resources needed to run large-scale campaigns 
without relying on a small group of large donors. At a time 
when the undue influence of large donors is an increasing 
concern for the public, especially after the Citizens United 
decision reversed a century of precedent by deregulating 
corporate campaign expenditures, such a decision is 
particularly misguided.
    Repealing the PECF is also dishonest to those taxpayers who 
each elected to donate $3 to the fund. Under H.R. 3463, if 
enacted, the current balance of the PECF, approximately $195 
million, would automatically transfer to the general fund of 
the U.S. Treasury. Taxpayers did not intend for these dollars 
to be directed to the general fund. It is tantamount to 
    H.R. 3463 would also eliminate the EAC. Born in response to 
the election debacle in Florida in 2000, the EAC is the only 
Federal agency tasked with assisting states in the 
administration of elections. EAC programs and support have 
saved state and local election officials millions of dollars 
and helped to improve the voting experience and protect the 
rights of tens of millions of voters. That's why the agency 
receives overwhelming support from local election officials, 
voting rights groups, and civil rights groups, and why the 
majority's multiple attempts to abolish the agency are so 
troubling and have failed.
    State and local election officials depend on the EAC for 
guidance on best voting practices. No other federal agency has 
ever provided anything like it. The agency's reports and 
recommendations save states and counties untold sums of money, 
quickly and efficiently answering questions and alerting 
officials to problems they might not even have recognized they 
had. The EAC is also the only federal agency that certifies 
voting equipment, ensuring that the machines that count votes 
are efficient and accurate so all votes are counted. Its record 
on this front is exemplary and stands in stark contrast to its 
predecessor. It was the FEC's failure in this regard, 
particularly in Florida in 2000 that led to the EAC's creation. 
The Majority's push to return this vital process to FEC's 
portfolio, when FEC is already struggling to accomplish its 
primary mission, is thoroughly misguided.

                     Library of Congress Oversight

    While the Committee did not conduct any oversight hearings 
on the Library of Congress during the 112th Congress, 
bipartisan staff oversight meetings were conducted with the 
Library covering all of the Library's service units.


    The Library, along with the Office of Personnel Management, 
elected to institute a voluntary separation incentive program 
(VSIP) along with voluntary early retirement authorization 
(VERA) as cost-saving measures. While the Library fell short of 
its goal of approximately 400 eligible employees accepting the 
VSIP/VERA offer, 186 ultimately did. The reduction in operating 
costs will help the Library adjust to FY12 appropriation levels 
as well as the possibility of future appropriation reductions. 
Committee Democrats will continue vigilant oversight of the 
Library's ability to perform its service, particularly to 
Congress through the Congressional Research Service, in the 
shadow of this personnel reduction.


    The Joint Committee on the Library has no legislative 
authority but is tasked with oversight of the Library of 
Congress and the Congressional Research Service, management of 
the congressional art collection and the United States Botanic 
Garden. To this end, the JCL oversaw the placement of a statue 
of Gerald Ford, from Michigan, in the Rotunda; planning for the 
future placement of a statue of Rosa Parks in Statuary Hall; 
authorized a replacement statue for Nebraska; authorized the 
extension of the United States Botanic Garden holiday hours; 
and oversaw the changing of artwork in the tunnel leading from 
the Capitol Visitor Center to the Library of Congress. 
Committee Democrats supported these efforts.


    The Committee oversaw the appointment of several high-
profile positions within the Library this year. On June 1, 
2010, five months after being appointed acting Register of 
Copyrights, Maria Pallante was named the 12th Register of 
Copyrights and director of the United States Copyright office. 
Earlier in the year, Dan Mulhollan, then director of the 
Congressional Research Service (CRS), stepped down and was 
replaced by acting CRS director Dr. Mary Mazanec. In December 
2011, Dr. Mazanec was named as the new director of CRS.

                            Sergeant at Arms

    Committee Democrats worked closely with the Majority to 
oversee the Sergeant at Arms' work on security matters. We 
strongly supported Mr. Livingood's continuing implementation of 
the Law Enforcement Coordinator program begun during the 111th 
Congress. The program's goal is to weave Members' district 
offices into an holistic, House-wide approach that incorporates 
the threats posed to Members beyond the District of Columbia, 
as demonstrated by the shocking assault on Representative 
Giffords and others in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2011.
    Likewise, we continued support for the HSAA program 
offering Members access to professional, prompt assessments of 
district-office physical security, with the House (rather than 
individual Members) bearing the cost of prudent improvements to 
office suites. We look forward to working with the HSAA and the 
Majority to identify ways Members can maximize use of federal 
buildings, usually the most secure locations available, for 
their district offices. We supported Mr. Livingood's redoubled 
efforts to establish and maintain more lasting ties between his 
office, the Capitol Police, and local law-enforcement agencies 
in the vicinity of Member district offices.
    We wish to note the impending retirement next month of Mr. 
Livingood as our Sergeant at Arms for the last 17 years. There 
is good reason that Bill has held this post for so long, 
serving under four speakers. He is a skilled and consummate 
professional who has served all Members and leaves the House a 
different, more secure place than he found it. We wish him 
well. He will be missed.

                  United States Capitol Police (USCP)

    Democratic Members worked closely with the Majority on 
bipartisan oversight of the Capitol Police focusing on the 
subjects highlighted in the Committee oversight plan, 
especially on agency budgeting and administration. During the 
111th Congress, flawed budgetary formulations and executions by 
the USCP had greatly undermined Committee, Member and public 
confidence. Actions taken by Chief Morse, including the 
appointment of his chief of staff, civilian Richard Braddock, 
as Chief Administrative Officer, have put USCP back on course 
for a ``clean, unqualified'' financial report for fiscal 2011 
with greater confidence for improvements in 2012 and future 
    The Minority worked constructively with the Majority on 
close oversight of the USCP radio modernization project, a 
multi-year, multi-million-dollar project to upgrade aging radio 
equipment and infrastructure. The Committee has received 
regular briefings on the status of the project and has 
benefited from USCP's interagency approach to maximize 
coordination and minimize miscommunication among the Police, 
the Architect of the Capitol and NAVAIR, the project designer. 
As of this writing the project remains on schedule for delivery 
in early 2013 and on budget.
    The Minority continued its keen oversight of implementation 
of the merger of the Library of Congress Police with the 
Capitol Police, finalized in late 2009 under Chairman Brady. At 
this point in 2011, according to reports from management and 
employees of both agencies, the merger has been implemented 
successfully. The Minority considers this implementation as a 
``roadmap'' for future implementation of a merger of the 
Government Printing Office Police with the Capitol Police to 
realize the ``seamless'' security across the Capitol campus 
envisioned years ago.
    Assistant Chief Dan Nichols retired earlier this year. 
Chief Nichols served with distinction in many roles during his 
long USCP career, including chief of the House Division, 
public-affairs officer, and culminating in the number-two spot 
responsible for day-to-day operations. The position cannot be 
easy, but Nichols made it appear so. We look forward to working 
with his successor and wish Dan well in his new endeavors.

                    Government Printing Office (GPO)


    From our perspective the agency has made tremendous strides 
under the leadership of William Boarman, of Maryland, who took 
office as the 26th Public Printer on January 3, 2011, following 
a recess appointment by President Obama.
    As revealed during an Oversight subcommittee hearing on May 
11, when Mr. Boarman became Public Printer GPO was in dire 
financial trouble. Among other things, recent public printers 
had saddled GPO with large and growing overhead costs by hiring 
more senior managers who added nothing to the ``bottom line''; 
by sanctioning excessive travel, especially overseas travel, 
yielding little tangible benefit to anyone but the traveling 
senior managers; and by failing to pursue the millions owed but 
uncollected from GPO agency customers.
    On the ``cost'' side of the ledger, Mr. Boarman has since 
January taken a multitude of necessary steps. He has frozen all 
but essential hiring and travel, and drastically cut certain 
outside contractual services. He has trimmed the annual 
spending plan submitted to the Joint Committee on Printing 
(JCP) by $15 million. He immediately cut the pending 
appropriations request (FY2012) by $5 million. With the 
approval of the Committee and its Senate counterpart, he has 
taken advantage of voluntary separation and ``early-out'' 
authority to encourage hundreds of willing employees to 
separate. This last action alone will save tens of millions in 
coming years. GPO's new, streamlined passport-production plant 
in Mississippi is working to share its methods with the plant 
in Washington, D.C., which will benefit GPO, the State 
Department and everyone who carries a passport.
    As for revenues, Mr. Boarman has invigorated efforts to 
collect overdue accounts and streamline the collections process 
to prevent their recurrence. GPO has leased thousands of square 
feet of underutilized space in its North Capitol Street 
facility and is looking to lease thousands more to legislative-
branch tenants like the House, Senate and Architect of the 
Capitol. In addition to being the State Department's sole 
source for U.S. passports, GPO is redoubling efforts to expand 
its market position for additional security-related documents 
for the Department of Homeland Security and other federal 
    The Public Printer is also working directly with the 
Committee to improve information delivery within Congress. We 
are working with him and with the Chairman to identify 
potential amendments to chapters 7 and 9 of Title 44, U.S. 
Code, which establish the framework for production, 
distribution and dissemination of congressional materials to 
Congress itself, the Library of Congress, to hundreds of 
federal depository libraries across the country, to the 
National Archives, and others in both printed and electronic 
form. In our view, significant issues are presented here, but 
there are also presented opportunities, including an 
opportunity to consider how GPO's business model, based largely 
on printing, can expand to generate revenues.

                        KEY MATTERS OF INTEREST

    In the spring, the Subcommittee on Oversight held two 
hearings to explore the general topics of GPO transformation 
and business model, and information dissemination in the House. 
While useful as a foundation for further analysis, the topical 
hearings analyzed no specific legislation to amend Title 44 or 
its potential effect on GPO, the Congress, the government as a 
whole, or the public. Were such legislation introduced, we 
believe specific hearings would be necessary for policymakers 
to weigh alternatives carefully.
    At this time Members, staff and others still await delivery 
of a new edition of the Congressional Directory, to which the 
Minority staff contributed as requested. As always, the 
contribution and expert support of the GPO staff were crucial 
and in fact made the difference between success and failure. 
Minority staff joined their Majority counterparts in initial 
discussions of potential revisions to the Government Printing 
and Binding Regulations.
    The Democratic Members and staff look forward to working 
with the majority, the Superintendent of Documents and others 
to consider updates to the organic laws establishing the 
Federal Depository Library Program, which is confronting 
difficulties. Regional and selective libraries alike are 
increasingly adopting de facto changes to the program which may 
or may not serve the public interest overall. We hope that the 
Committee will devote resources to the oversight of this 
program and work with stakeholders to implement an appropriate 
approach to the issues presented.
    Finally, in addition to everything else the Public Printer 
and his staff are doing for Congress every day, the Minority 
wishes to express appreciation for GPO's ``COOP'' (continuity 
of operations) work. GPO staff spends many man-hours meeting 
with the House Clerk, the Chief Administrative Officer, with 
Senate and other key offices to develop and exercise plans to 
assure Congress could conduct business elsewhere than the 
Capitol should it become necessary. GPO receives no 
reimbursement for any COOP-related work and must recover these 
costs through its printing rates. We also appreciate GPO's 
support of Congress through the GPO Police, likewise funded 
through its rates while other Legislative agencies enjoy 
protection of the Capitol Police. The Minority remain 
interested in pursuing a merger of the GPO Police with the 
Capitol Police to realize the obvious savings available there.

                   GPO LEADERSHIP FOR 2012 AND BEYOND

    The Minority regrets the Senate's refusal in mid-December 
2011 to confirm the nomination of William Boarman to be Public 
Printer and instead to return the nomination to the President. 
As a result, Mr. Boarman's recess appointment will necessarily 
expire at the end of the first session.
    It remains a mystery to us why one or more senators forced 
this outcome after the Senate Rules Committee had twice 
recommended confirmation without dissent. As we described 
above, Mr. Boarman is serving GPO and the American people well 
in these difficult transitional times. We trust a majority of 
Senators will work with the President to restore this faithful 
public servant in this very important office as soon as 
    We take comfort in knowing that until Bill Boarman is 
confirmed, his able deputy, Davita Vance-Cooks, will lead GPO 
as acting Public Printer. With his appointment of Ms. Vance-
Cooks, the first African-American woman to serve in the post, 
he will be leaving GPO in excellent hands.

                           Inspector General

    House Rule II gives the Committee general responsibility 
for oversight and policy direction of the work of the Inspector 
General (IG). The Committee staff oversees the IG's work in a 
bipartisan manner through weekly bipartisan staff meetings.
    At the request of then Chairman Brady, at the beginning of 
the 111th Congress, the IG's responsibilities were expanded 
under House Rules to provide for the inclusion of management 
advisory services and potential implementation of government-
wide ``best practices'' where applicable. These services have 
greatly benefitted the House Officers by identifying 
inefficiencies and thus saving the House time and money. The 
Minority is pleased that this practice has continued throughout 
the first session of the 112th Congress.
    The benefits of the IG's expansion in duties can be seen in 
the first session of the 112th Congress. One area that the IG 
focused on was preventive methods to protect the House from 
potential risk of unscrupulous individuals and companies 
seeking financial gain. This is evidenced by the IG 
collaborating with the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) to 
improve internal controls over the House procurement processes. 
Undoubtedly the implementation of new controls strengthens the 
House overall and lessens the likelihood of the House being 
exposed to potential abuse.
    In addition to the procurement process, the IG working in 
tandem with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and CAO 
formed a working group in the 112th to discuss ways to combat 
potential vendor fraud. Upon further review the IG found the 
House susceptible to potential office supply and business 
directory schemes whereby vendors may attempt to overcharge for 
goods and services. In response, an educational campaign was 
mounted and the IG's office began distributing Dear Colleague 
notices informing the House community of the potential danger 
in dealing with outside vendors that may solicit offices for 
their business.
    The Minority recognizes that office supply schemes are a 
systemic problem across the country and not confined to 
Government; however, the efforts of the IG and the ``working 
group'' has lessened the ability for nefarious vendors to 
operate in secrecy and potentially saved the House an untold 
amount of money.
    As the above examples illustrate, the IG plays a crucial 
role in optimizing the use of tax dollars to assist in running 
a large, complex organizational structure like the House in the 
most efficient manner possible. It would be impossible to 
quantify the IG's work in the value of dollars and cents but 
there is no doubt that House operations are improving. The 
Minority looks forward to working with the IG and Committee 
staff in a bipartisan manner to achieve greater transparency 
and efficiency within the House for the upcoming second session 
of the 112th Congress.

                        Smithsonian Institution

    The National Museum of the American Latino Commission, 
created by Public Law 110-229, sent its final report to 
Congress and the President in May 2011. The Commission 
recommended that a museum be built as part of the Smithsonian 
Institution. One of the potential sites it suggested was the 
historic Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall, 
which is currently closed for renovation pending a future 
decision about its use.
    Rep. Xavier Becerra of California on November 29, 2011 
introduced H.R. 3459, the ``Smithsonian American Latino Museum 
Act,'' which was referred to the Committee on House 
Administration as the primary committee, with an additional 
referral to Transportation and Infrastructure. No action was 
taken on the bill during the first session.

                      Capitol Visitor Center (CVC)

    In the first session, Beth Plemmons has become CEO of the 
CVC, with Sandra Coffman as Deputy CEO. Beth Plemmons comes to 
the Capitol Visitor Center with extensive experience in visitor 
services. She was previously employed as the Associate Director 
for Guest Services at Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens where she 
supervised ticketing and group sales for more than one million 
visitors annually. Sandra D. Coffman previously worked for the 
U.S. Capitol Police where she achieved the rank of Deputy Chief 
with jurisdiction over the Protective Services Bureau, which 
included the Dignitary Protection Division, the Investigations 
Division and the Office of Intelligence Analysis.
    Currently the main exhibit in Exhibition Hall is ``Congress 
and the Civil War.'' The exhibit offers rarely seen documents 
and photographs to demonstrate how Congress crafted new 
legislation to manage both the war effort and its consequences. 
Among highlights are a Lithograph, The Fifteenth Amendment and 
Its Results that features portraits of President Lincoln, 
abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and Senator Hiram Revels. This 
includes a copy of H.J. Res. 80, which was proposed by Ohio 
Representative Thomas Corwin to prevent Congress from 
interfering with slavery in any state. The Slave Narrative 
Project from the late 1930's is also included, in which 
thousands of survivors of slavery recount their lives.
    As of December 16, 2011, the CVC has had 2,111,747 
visitors--down 3% from last year at this time. Committee 
Democrats will continue to work with the CVC to ensure visitor 
satisfaction of every guest with a focus on ensuring each 
experience is enjoyable and educational. Furthermore, Committee 
Democrats will remain vigilant in preserving the ability of 
individual Member offices to provide staff-led tours for 
constituents throughout the Capitol.

  Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards (Franking Commission)

    The Franking Commission, established by Public Law 93-191, 
is composed of six Members appointed by the Speaker of the 
House: three from the Majority, and three from the Minority. 
The Speaker designates as Chairman of the Franking Commission 
one of the Members appointed to the Commission, who must also 
be a Member of the Committee on House Administration.
    In the 112th Congress, the Commission is chaired by Rep. 
Aaron Schock of Illinois, joined by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, 
Rep. Bob Latta of Ohio, ranking Democratic member Rep. Susan 
Davis of California, Rep. Brad Sherman of California and Rep. 
Cedric Richmond of Louisiana.
    The Commission met on July 22, 2011 and agreed to a 
revision of the Franking Manual and a separate new website for 
the Franking Commission. There was a consensus on the following 
revisions to the Franking Manual:
     Eliminate restrictions on party references, 
personal references, the size and appearance of the Member's 
name and photo in mass mail and mass communications.
     Birthdays (80+) and anniversaries (50+) may be 
acknowledged. However, upon request by a constituent, the 
Member may acknowledge any age for a birthday or anniversary.
     Rep. DeFazio's request to congratulate 
constituents who graduate from a rehabilitation program for 
substance abuse was approved. Thus, the Members agreed the new 
manual should reflect that public distinctions are determined 
at the Member's discretion.
    Regarding immediate implementation of the Agenda items, 
Ranking Member Davis emphasized the importance of everything 
being implemented at one time, which included the Democratic 
transparency proposal, i.e., making everything available on the 
new website for the public to view. Chairman Schock and his 
Majority Colleagues agreed to the implementation schedule.
    The Committee procured contract services to upgrade the 
existing franking system software (BMC Remedy System) to permit 
self service by Member offices to submit a new request and to 
check the status of such request.
    During the first session of the 112th Congress, the 
Franking Commission reviewed, considered, and approved nearly 
7,000 requests for Advisory Opinions.

                           CAO Reorganization

    The Minority worked closely with the Majority on a 
bipartisan basis on the following House-wide issues at the 
Committee's bi-weekly oversight staff meetings: subscription 
cost reduction; Restaurant Associates; contract negotiations; 
digital mail implementation; purchase card; modular furniture 
program; transition debriefings.
    However, on August 3, 2011 the Committee Majority 
unilaterally approved a major reorganization of the operations 
of the Chief Administrative Officer's operation, without proper 
consultation. The changes were in response to H.R. 2551, the 
Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill, which cut the CAO 
budget by $11,000,000 (9%) in FY 2012. The Bill reduced the 
budget authorized amount from $127,782,000 to $116,783,000.
    The reduction in personnel and services was dramatic. In 
addition to eliminating 38 frozen positions, 16 currently 
filled staff positions were cut. First Call, Greening the 
Capitol, and Strategic Initiatives were eliminated. The 
Committee Majority approved changes in defining the CAO core 
mission without formal input from the Minority.
    Early in 2011 and with approval of the Majority, the CAO 
implemented a zero based budget process. The process was not 
based on any strategic planning process nor was appropriately 
trained staff engaged at the department level to discuss 
details and make decisions based on the needs of the House.
    Based on recommendations of the CAO, the Committee Majority 
approved breaking the CAO into five separate newly defined 
business units: Finance; House Information Resources; Logistics 
and Support; Acquisitions Management; and Human Resources.

                        Architect of the Capitol

    In addition to House-specific support operations, the 
Committee also oversees the legislative branch agencies that 
provide services to both houses of Congress. The Architect of 
the Capitol (AOC) serves as the facilities manager for the 
Congress, constructing and maintaining the Capitol and all of 
the other buildings in the Capitol complex. Certain decisions 
regarding management of the House office buildings and the 
House side of the Capitol reside with the House Office Building 
Commission, but the Committee supervises AOC implementation of 
all programs.
    At the direction of the new Majority, the AOC halted 
certain facility-wide greening efforts in favor of an 
environmentally questionable waste-to-energy project. The 
Minority continues to question the rationale behind this 
decision and hopes that the House will not further erode the 
process of making the House complex economically and 
environmentally efficient.
    Throughout the 112th Congress, bipartisan Committee staff 
met on a regular basis with the AOC and the AOC's 
Superintendent of House Office Buildings, but also reviewed all 
other AOC activities affecting the Capitol campus as a whole. 
Notably, the Committee in concert with the AOC officially 
unveiled plans to completely renovate the Cannon House Office 
Building. Cannon has never been fully renovated and the current 
state of deferred maintenance is quickly rendering the building 
unfit for use. Work on the east underground parking facility 
concluded on time and under budget, and the AOC is continuing 
to work the current contractor on planned renovations to the 
west underground parking facility.
    The AOC responded without delay to the earthquake that 
stunned the Washington, D.C. metro area on August 23, 2011. The 
AOC-coordinated effort to assess damage, protect the public and 
repair facilities was well executed and resulted in minimal 
disruption to normal House operations.
    Noting the ever present need to maintain public 
accessibility and safety in the House Office Buildings, the 
Committee worked with the AOC to continue a maintenance 
schedule of House committee rooms. These renovations allow the 
work of the Committees of the House to be accessed more widely.
    The AOC's national search for a new Chief Financial Officer 
concluded with the appointment of the acting CFO, Thomas 
Carroll. Mr. Carroll served as Deputy House Superintendent 
prior to taking on the interim CFO position, and his selection 
as CFO is applauded by the Minority.

                  Members' Representational Allowance

    The Committee has jurisdiction over the use of 
appropriations from the accounts of the U.S. House of 
Representatives for the Members' Representational Allowance 
(MRA) as well as official travel by Members and staff, and 
compensation, retirement and other benefits of Member office 
    A Member's Representational Allowance (MRA) is the annual 
authorization made to each Member of the House to obligate U.S. 
Treasury funds not to exceed a certain amount. These funds may 
be used by the Member to pay ordinary and necessary business 
expenses incurred by the Member and his or her congressional 
office employees in support of the conduct of the Member's 
official and representational duties on behalf of the district 
from which the Member is elected.
    The annual MRA is available for one Legislative Year, i.e., 
January 3 of one year through January 2 of the following year. 
The MRA is made up of three primary expense components: 
personnel compensation, official expenses, and official 
(franked) mail expenses. The amount of the MRA varies from 
Member to Member based on the distance of a Member's district 
from Washington, D.C., the cost of federal office space serving 
a Member's district, and the number of U.S. Postal Service 
Private Delivery Stops in a Member's district. The use of funds 
in any expense category is not limited by the amount factored 
into a corresponding expense component, e.g., a Member may 
spend more or less than the amount of the personnel component 
to compensate his or her staff.
    Each Member has complete discretion in budgeting the total 
amount of his or her MRA as he or she determines to support the 
operation of his or her Washington, D.C., congressional and 
district offices, consistent with applicable federal law and 
House Rules and regulations. Federal law authorizes the 
Committee, by order of the Committee, to fix and adjust the 
amounts, terms, and conditions of, and other matters relating 
to the MRA (including all aspects of official mail) by reason 
          1. A change in the price of materials, services, or 
        office space;
          2. A technological change or other improvement in 
        office equipment; or
          3. An increase in rates of pay under the General 
        Schedule, e.g., a comparability and/or locality wage 
    In the 112th Congress, the MRA was cut 5% per each Member's 
office. This was coupled with a further 6.4% reduction for the 
fiscal year beginning in October 2011. Many offices have been 
forced, as a result, to reduce staff and services. These 
reductions in funding have been compounded by drastic increases 
in rent charged by the Government Services Administration for 
use of federal building office space.
    On December 16, 2011, the Committee adopted a new Members' 
Handbook. It was the first major revision in over a decade. 
Needed language was added to provide regulations and guidance 
on technological and social media tools used by many offices. 
Updated travel rules will aid Members and staff in constituent 
outreach and district office operations, and expanded advanced 
payment authorizations will enable Members to make purchases in 
a more cost effective manner. The bipartisan effort to bring 
this matter forward will aid Members' offices with more 
thorough and timely guidance. The Minority actively 
participated in improving the previous version.

                           Committee Funding

    The Committee on House Administration processes the 
legislation by which standing and select committees of the 
House are authorized operating funds in a Congress.
    In order to gather the information necessary to create the 
primary expense resolution, the Committee required all standing 
and select committees to submit estimates for their expected 
expenses for both sessions of the 112th Congress. They were 
also asked to provide line item estimates for the following 
expenses: personnel compensation (including salaries and lump 
sum payments), overtime, transit benefits, travel, 
communications, and printing and reproduction costs. They were 
also asked to give a best estimate of other general office 
related expenses as well as those relative to their oversight 
    Also during preparations for work on committee funding, the 
Committee asked the Chairs and Ranking Members how smaller 
budgets would impact their ability to conduct effective 
oversight or pursue their legislative goals. Overall, the 
Chairs and Ranking Members assured the Committee that they 
would be able to cope. However, there was concern that with 
additional budget cuts the ability of the standing and select 
Committees to attract and retain the caliber of staff needed to 
execute legislative and oversight plans would be impaired.
    The Committee asked that the standing and select committee 
budget requests conform to H. Res. 22, a resolution that 
mandated the aggregate amount of funding for committees not 
exceed 95% of the funding for the 111th Congress. In submitting 
their requests, every standing and select committee met this 
    The House then passed the biennial primary expense 
resolution on March 17, 2011.
    The Committee conducted another round of oversight 
hearings, as required by House Resolution 147, on November 30, 
2011, to examine the viability of the enacted funding levels 
for the second session of the 112th Congress. While many 
committees said they could adjust to any changes the committee 
might wish to make, others expressed concern that there could 
be hardships in adapting to any additional cuts, including cuts 
in the number of staff and in staff salaries. There was general 
concern that this arbitrary reduction in spending would not 
only impair the operations of the House but would result in 
additional costs to the government as a whole.
    On December 16, 2011, the Committee by voice vote ordered 
reported H. Res. 496, an unprecedented legislative vehicle 
which would revise the biennial funding provisions of H. Res. 
147. H. Res. 496 would make additional cuts of approximately 
6.4 percent to committee budgets in 2012 to conform to 
appropriations cuts in the legislative branch and elsewhere in 
the government enacted during 2011. The resolution cut all 
standing and select committee budgets, except for the Ethics 
    The Minority Members opposed H. Res. 496, both because of 
fears of the potential damage the cuts might do, and because it 
undermined the stability provided by the biennial committee 
funding resolution. During the markup, Ranking Member Brady 
offered an amendment which would have provided a 60-day 
severance package for committee staff dismissed with little or 
no notice as a result of the new cuts. Minority staff might 
feel a greater impact from these cuts because their budgets 
were already tight, since the Minority reduced itself from two-
thirds to one-third of committee staff at the start of the 
112th Congress. The amendment was based on a proposal offered 
at the end of 2006 by former CHA Chairman Ehlers, with the 
support of Rep. Lungren, as the Republicans were surrendering 
their previous majority. Unfortunately, the Brady amendment was 
defeated by voice vote.
    As the session was ending, it appeared likely that House 
consideration of H. Res. 496 would be delayed into January 

                                   Robert A. Brady.