Report text available as:

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

115th Congress   }                                    {         Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                    {         115-38

======================================================================



 
   PROVIDING FOR THE EXPENSES OF CERTAIN COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE OF 
         REPRESENTATIVES IN THE ONE HUNDRED FIFTEENTH CONGRESS

                                _______
                                

   March 15, 2017.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Harper, from the Committee on House Administration, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                       [To accompany H. Res. 173]

    The Committee on House Administration, to whom was referred 
the resolution (H. Res. 173) providing for the expenses of 
certain committees of the House of Representatives in the One 
Hundred Fifteenth Congress, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the 
resolution be agreed to.

                 BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR THE RESOLUTION

    Pursuant to House Rule X, clause 6, the Committee on House 
Administration (hereinafter referred to as the ``Committee'') 
reports an omnibus, biennial ``primary expense resolution'' to 
cover the expenses of each standing and select committee of the 
House, except the Committee on Appropriations. H. Res. 173 is 
the primary expense resolution reported by the Committee on 
House Administration for the 115th Congress.
    On March 8, 2017, by voice vote, the Committee agreed to a 
motion to report H. Res. 173 favorably to the House without 
amendment. The resolution authorizes the aggregate amount of 
funding for standing and permanent select committees for the 
115th Congress, and also includes a provision to require a 
review of the use of committee funds at the beginning of the 
second session of the 115th Congress.

                           GENERAL DISCUSSION

    During the first three months of each new Congress, House 
Rule X, clause 7, authorizes House committees to continue 
operations based on their funding authorizations from the 
preceding session. This continuing authorization allows 
committees to organize, adopt legislative and oversight 
agendas, and seek spending authority through the adoption of a 
primary expense resolution by the House.
    The funding process begins after a House standing or 
permanent select committee determines its biennial funding 
needs, and introduces a House resolution seeking those funds. 
Under House Rule X, clause 6, all funding resolutions, which 
are referred to as primary expense resolutions, are referred to 
the Committee on House Administration. Since this funding 
process merely authorizes the expenditure of funds already 
provided (or to be provided) in appropriations acts, the 
funding measure takes the form of a simple House resolution, 
which does not require Senate or presidential approval. After 
requesting and reviewing committee budget submissions, the 
Committee recommends an appropriate allocation of funds.

115th Congress proceedings

    To gather the information necessary to create the omnibus 
primary expense resolution, the Committee required the standing 
and permanent select committees to submit estimates for their 
expected expenses for both sessions of the 115th Congress. The 
Committee asked that committees provide line item estimates for 
the following expenses: personnel compensation (including 
salaries and lump sum payments), overtime, travel, 
communications, and printing and reproduction costs.
    The Committee also requested that committees estimate their 
expenses for other services, including consultant contracts, 
detailees from executive and other agencies, training, 
representational expenses, and other services. Finally, the 
Committee requested budget estimates for the costs of supplies, 
materials, and equipment.
    To further gather the information necessary to create the 
omnibus primary expense resolution, the Committee convened a 
hearing to provide the Chairs and Ranking Members of the 
standing and permanent select committees an opportunity to 
present and share their views on their respective budget 
requests for the 115th Congress.
    During the hearing, Members of the Committee asked the 
Chairs and Ranking Members about how their budget requests 
would impact their ability to conduct effective oversight or 
pursue their legislative goals.
    Members of the Committee also asked the Chairs and Ranking 
Members how they were managing and will manage their resources 
with equity and prudence. Since the 104th Congress, House 
majority leadership and the Chair and Ranking Member of the 
Committee have encouraged the Chairs of the standing and 
permanent select committees to provide the minority with one-
third of committee staff and/or resources authorized in the 
primary expense resolutions. During the hearings, the Committee 
sought to ensure that the minority in each committee was 
treated equitably in the funding process. Each Ranking Member 
was asked if he or she was allocated the traditional one-third 
share of committee staff positions and/or committee resources, 
as determined by each committee. These exchanges indicated that 
all of the committees appear to be in compliance with the 
traditional ``two-thirds/one-third'' distribution of funds 
among the majority and minority.
    After the hearing, the Committee used the budget 
submissions and Member testimony to create an omnibus expense 
resolution, introduced by Chairman Harper, to authorize funding 
for all of the committees. The resolution includes a provision 
to require the Chairs and Ranking Members to return to the 
Committee after one year for an additional oversight hearing to 
review the use of funds from the first session, unless waived 
by the Committee. These proceedings will be open to the public, 
and will provide an opportunity to discover how effectively and 
efficiently funding allocations are being used. The provision 
is intended to promote accountability, transparency, and 
oversight of each committee's resources.
    In reporting out this resolution, the committee is 
recommending to the House an authorization to expend 
approximately $131,415,404 in the first session, and 
$132,365,176 in the second session. The resolution also 
includes a reserve fund for unanticipated expenses of 
$1,250,000 in the first session and the same amount in the 
second session.

Hearing room upgrades

    The Committee on House Administration has determined that 
funds requested for hearing room upgrades by the committees 
should be removed from the committee funding process and be 
allocated separately. The Committee believes this is necessary 
so that the omnibus resolution accurately reflects the true 
base funding levels for each committee. Since much of the work 
performed in upgrading hearing rooms arises from costs related 
to infrastructure modifications of House buildings and other 
services usually performed by the Architect of the Capitol and 
Chief Administrative Officer under their own or other budget 
authority, it is not appropriate to account for these costs 
within committee's budgets.
    The House Administration Committee believes that these 
upgrade requests are indicative of the need for a responsive 
and organized committee hearing room upgrade process. It should 
be noted that audio and video technology in several committee 
rooms are very dated and urgently need to be replaced and or 
upgraded to ensure the continued public broadcast of 
congressional proceedings.
    The Committee on House Administration directs the Chief 
Administrative Officer to implement a Committee Hearing 
Broadcast Program to manage hearing room upgrades. The Hearing 
Broadcast Program will include (1) technology standards for 
hearing rooms and supporting components in the House Recording 
Studio, (2) a management plan for a standard upgrade process 
and ongoing sustainment, and (3) recommendations to the 
Committee for hearing room upgrade priorities. Committees that 
want to fund hearing room technology upgrades outside of the 
Hearing Broadcast Program must obtain approval from the 
Committee on House Administration.
    The Chief Administrative Officer is also directed to 
provide support staff to operate the broadcasting functions for 
each committee room. Committee staffs are not authorized to 
operate broadcasting functions for official committee events, 
unless the committee receives authorization from the Committee 
on House Administration.

Authorization and oversight plans

    The Committee expects the funding allocated for each 
committee to be appropriately assigned by each committee to its 
subcommittees to ensure that the committees are able to 
accomplish their goals, as outlined by each committee's 
authorization and oversight plan as required by House Rule X, 
clause 3(d)(5).

Allocations for the Committee on Rules and Committee on Ethics

    The Committee has reported a resolution with funding higher 
than the requests for the Committee on Rules and Committee on 
Ethics. The additional funding provided for the Committee on 
Rules is intended to provide appropriate funding for the new 
House Rule concerning comparative prints of bills reported by 
committees. The additional funding provided for the Committee 
on Ethics is intended to provide additional resources for the 
Advice and Education Office of the Ethics Committee and to 
provide resources for an update to the House Ethics Manual.

                       SUMMARY OF THE RESOLUTION

    Section 1 adjusts the aggregate amount paid out of the 
applicable accounts of the House of Representatives with 
respect to the 115th Congress for the expenses (including the 
expense of all staff salaries) of the permanent select and 
standing committees of the House (except the Committee on 
Appropriations).
    Section 2 adjusts the amount provided for the expenses of 
each standing and permanent select committee of the House 
(except the Committee on Appropriations) for expenses incurred 
during the first session of the 115th Congress (the period 
beginning at noon on January 3, 2017, and ending immediately 
before noon on January 3, 2018).
    Section 3 adjusts the amount provided for the expenses of 
each standing and permanent select committee of the House 
(except the Committee on Appropriations) for expenses incurred 
during the second session of the 115th Congress (the period 
beginning at noon on January 3, 2018, and ending immediately 
before noon on January 3, 2019).
    The amounts for each committee contained in the primary 
expense resolution are as follows:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    1st Session     2nd Session        Total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Committee on Agriculture........................................      $5,699,668      $5,737,849     $11,437,517
Committee on Armed Services.....................................       8,094,170       8,094,170      16,188,340
Committee on the Budget.........................................       5,190,212       5,190,212      10,380,424
Committee on Education and the Workforce........................       7,146,429       7,307,783      14,454,212
Committee on Energy and Commerce................................      10,265,721      10,265,721      20,531,442
Committee on Ethics.............................................       3,340,663       3,340,663       6,681,326
Committee on Financial Services.................................       8,290,225       8,290,225      16,580,450
Committee on Foreign Affairs....................................       7,836,993       7,836,993      15,673,986
Committee on Homeland Security..................................       7,503,923       7,503,923      15,007,846
Committee on House Administration...............................       5,021,565       5,321,565      10,343,130
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence......................       6,050,000       6,050,000      12,100,000
Committee on the Judiciary......................................       7,625,286       7,725,286      15,350,572
Committee on Natural Resources..................................       6,879,172       6,879,172      13,758,344
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform....................       9,129,841       9,129,841      18,259,682
Committee on Rules..............................................       3,230,281       3,230,281       6,460,562
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.....................       5,484,978       5,484,978      10,969,956
Committee on Small Business.....................................       3,037,400       3,249,637       6,287,037
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure..................       8,655,500       8,760,500      17,416,000
Committee on Veterans' Affairs..................................       3,979,031       3,979,031       7,958,062
Committee on Ways and Means.....................................       8,954,346       8,986,346      17,940,692
Reserve Fund....................................................       1,250,000       1,250,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                 COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION OF H. RES. 173

                       INTRODUCTION AND REFERRAL

    On March 7, 2017, Representative Gregg Harper of 
Mississippi introduced House Resolution 173, which was referred 
to the Committee on House Administration.

                                HEARINGS

    On February 15 and February 16, 2017, the Committee held an 
oversight hearing to review the budgets for all the standing 
and select committees (except the Committee on Appropriations) 
in the 114th Congress, and to review budget planning for the 
115th Congress. The Chairs and Ranking Members of the select 
and standing committees provided testimony on their respective 
use of committee funds.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On March 8, 2017, the Committee met to mark up House 
Resolution 173. The Committee ordered the resolution reported 
favorably without amendment to the House by voice vote, with a 
quorum present.

                         COMMITTEE RECORD VOTES

    In compliance with House Rule XIII, clause 3(b), with 
respect to each record vote on an amendment or motion to 
report, together with the names of those voting for and 
against, the Committee states that there were no recorded votes 
during the consideration of this resolution.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    In compliance with House Rule XIII, clause 3(c)(1), the 
Committee states that the findings and recommendations of the 
Committee, based on oversight activities under House Rule X, 
clause 2(b)(1), are incorporated into the general discussion 
section of this report.

            STATEMENT OF BUDGET AUTHORITY AND RELATED ITEMS

    The resolution does not provide new budget authority, new 
spending authority, new credit authority, or an increase or 
decrease in revenues or tax expenditures and a statement under 
House Rule XIII, clause 3(c)(2), and section 308(a)(1) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974 is not required.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    In compliance with House Rule XIII, clause 3(c)(3), the 
Committee states, with respect to House Resolution 173, that 
the Director of the Congressional Budget Office did not submit 
a cost estimate and comparison under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                    PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    In compliance with House Rule XIII, clause 3(c)(4), the 
Committee states that House Resolution 173 serves as the 
biennial ``primary expense resolution'' to cover the expenses 
of each standing and select committee of the House, except the 
Committee on Appropriations. The performance goal and objective 
of House Resolution 173 is thus to provide adequate expenses 
for each standing and permanent select committee of the House, 
ensuring that each may acquire and retain appropriate staff and 
equipment to carry out their legislative and oversight duties.

                                  [all]