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                                                       Calendar No. 37
115th Congress      }                                    {      Report  
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                    {      115-28
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                     ELIMINATING GOVERNMENT-FUNDED

                            OIL-PAINTING ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                 S. 188

         TO PROHIBIT THE USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS FOR THE COSTS OF
 PAINTING PORTRAITS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                 April 24, 2017.--Ordered to be printed
                                  ______

                         U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 

69-010                         WASHINGTON : 2017                  
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  JON TESTER, Montana
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
JOHN HOEVEN, North Dakota            MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
STEVE DAINES, Montana                KAMALA D. HARRIS, California

                  Christopher R. Hixon, Staff Director
                Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Chief Counsel
              Joshua P. McLeod, Professional Staff Member
               Margaret E. Daum, Minority Staff Director
               Stacia M. Cardille, Minority Chief Counsel
       Charles A. Moskowitz, Minority Senior Legislative Counsel
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk


















                                                       Calendar No. 37
115th Congress      }                                    {      Report  
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                    {      115-28
======================================================================



 
             ELIMINATING GOVERNMENT-FUNDED OIL-PAINTING ACT

                                _______
                                

                 April 24, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 188]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 188) to prohibit 
the use of Federal funds for the costs of painting portraits of 
officers and employees of the Federal Government, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................4
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................4
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................4
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................4
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............5

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    Following reports of taxpayer dollars being spent on 
extravagant portraits for government officials, the Eliminating 
Government-funded Oil-painting Act, S. 188, would prohibit 
Federal funds from being used to pay for the costs of painting 
portraits of officers and employees of the Federal Government, 
including the President, the Vice President, a Member of 
Congress, the head of an Executive agency, and the head of an 
office of the Legislative Branch.\1\
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    \1\On June 24, 2015, the Committee approved S. 310, the Eliminating 
Government-funded Oil-painting Act. That bill is identical to S. 188. 
Accordingly, this committee report is in large part a reproduction of 
Chairman Johnson's committee report for S. 310, S. Rep. No. 114-93 
(2015).
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              II. BACKGROUND AND THE NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Federal outlays for fiscal year 2017 are projected to be 
$4.0 trillion, with revenues projected to be $3.4 trillion.\2\ 
That equates to a projected deficit of $559 billion for the 
Federal Government.\3\ As of the fourth quarter of 2016, public 
debt as a percent of gross domestic product was 105.9 
percent.\4\ By the end of fiscal year 2017, the debt held by 
the public is expected to reach $14.8 trillion.\5\ These 
figures demonstrate that the Federal Government continues to 
live outside of its means.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Congressional Budget Office, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 
2017 to 2027 (Jan. 2017) available at https://www.cbo.gov/topics/
budget.
    \3\Id.
    \4\FRED, St. Louis, Federal Debt: Total Public Debt as Percent of 
Gross Domestic Product (4th Quarter 2016), available at https://
fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEGDQ188S (last updated Mar. 31, 2017).
    \5\Congressional Budget Office, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 
2017 to 2027 (Jan. 2017) available at https://www.cbo.gov/topics/
budget.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Congress has a responsibility to taxpayers to ensure that 
Federal dollars are spent effectively and efficiently. In 2013, 
reports emerged that since 2010, Federal agencies have spent 
more than $400,000 on portraits that are displayed within 
agency buildings, often in secure locations that are not open 
to the public.\6\ However, the expensive practice has a long 
history of criticism dating back to at least the Carter 
Administration.\7\ Although portraits are a minor piece of the 
Federal budget, every dollar the government spends on vanity 
projects for federal officials is a dollar that is not spent 
improving the lives of everyday Americans. These paintings 
signal the greater problem of Congress failing to prioritize 
spending and wasting taxpayer dollars. For example, the $30,500 
spent on former Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer's portrait 
could have paid for over 9,000 free school lunches under the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture's School Lunch Program.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Boyle, Katherine, The government pays tens of thousands of 
dollars for portraits of high officials. Should it?, Washington Post, 
June 20, 2013, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/
wonkblog/wp/2013/06/20/the-government-pays-tens-of-thousands-of-
dollars-for-portraits-of-high-officials-should-it/.
    \7\Id.
    \8\McElhatton, Jim, Picture this: Cabinet portraits for big bucks, 
Washington Times, Nov. 11, 2012, available at http://
www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/11/picture-this-cabinet-
portraits-for-big-bucks/?page=all; United States Department of 
Agriculture, School Programs, Meal, Snack, and Milk Payments to States 
and School Food Authorities, Effective from July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017, 
available at: https://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cn/SY2015-
16table.pdf. Calculation based on National School Lunch Program maximum 
rate for free lunch in the contiguous states.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to reports, in recent years Federal agencies have 
authorized lavish spending on portraits ranging in cost from 
$19,000 to $50,000 each. Examples include:
           $38,350 by the Environmental Protection 
        Agency (EPA) for a portrait of former Administrator 
        Lisa Jackson;\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Kerley, David, Taxpayer Dollars Spent on Official Government 
Portraits, ABC News, Mar. 4, 2013, available at http://abcnews.go.com/
blogs/politics/2013/03/taxpayer-dollars-spent-on-official-government-
portraits/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
           $22,500 by the Department of Commerce for a 
        portrait of John Bryson, who served as Secretary for 
        only eight months;\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
           $41,200 by the Department of Defense (DoD) 
        for a portrait of former Air Force Secretary Michael B. 
        Donley;\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\McElhatton, Jim, Picture this: Cabinet portraits for big bucks, 
Washington Times, Nov. 11, 2012, available at http://
www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/11/picture-this-cabinet-
portraits-for-big-bucks/?page=all.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
           $22,500 by the United States Department of 
        Agriculture (USDA) for a portrait of Secretary Thomas 
        J. Vilsack;\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
           More than $40,000 by the United States 
        Department of Justice for a portrait of former Attorney 
        General John Ashcroft;\13\
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    \13\Id.
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           $30,500 by the USDA for a portrait of former 
        Secretary Ed Schafer;\14\
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    \14\Id.
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           $34,425 by the USDA for a portrait of former 
        Secretary Mike Johanns;\15\
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    \15\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
           $19,500 by the Department of Housing and 
        Urban Development for a portrait of Steve Preston, who 
        served as Secretary for only seven months;\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
           $46,790 by the DoD for a portrait of the 
        former Secretary of Defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, his 
        second official portrait bought by the American 
        taxpayers;\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \17\Lee, Christopher, Official Portraits Draw Skeptical Gaze, 
Washington Post, Oct. 21, 2008, available at http://
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/20/
AR2008102003627.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
           $23,500 by the Department of Homeland 
        Security for a portrait of former Commandant Adm. 
        Thomas H. Collins;\18\
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    \18\Id.
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           $25,000 by the National Aeronautics and 
        Space Administration for a portrait of former 
        Administrator Daniel S. Goldin;\19\
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    \19\Id.
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           $29,500 by the EPA for a portrait of the 
        former Administrator Stephen L. Johnson;\20\
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    \20\Id.
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           $19,000 by the National Institute of Health 
        for a portrait of former National Cancer Institute 
        Director Andrew C. von Eschenbach.\21\
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    \21\Id.
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    Typically, official portraits for the President, the First 
Lady, and certain Members of Congress (including committee 
chairs) are commissioned with private funding,\22\ though the 
House of Representatives has traditionally allowed 
appropriation of funds for portraits of the Speaker of the 
House.\23\ By prohibiting Federal spending on official 
portraits, the bill would encourage Congress as well as Federal 
agencies to adopt this same fiscally responsible approach of 
relying on private donations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \22\Siddons, Andrew, A Casualty of the Spending Truce: Official 
Portraits, New York Times, Dec. 11, 2014, available at http://
www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2014/12/11/a-casualty-of-the-
spending-truce-official-portraits/.
    \23\Resnick, Brian, Why Doesn't Nancy Pelosi Have an Oil Painting? 
John Boehner Has One, National Journal, January 19, 2013, available at 
http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/why-doesn-t-nancy-pelosi-have-
an-oil-painting-john-boehner-has-one-20130109.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In response to concerns raised by sponsors of the 
legislation and reports about excessive spending on portraits, 
for the last several years Congress has enacted a ban on 
taxpayer support for official portraits as part of the 
appropriations process.\24\ S. 188 would make that ban 
permanent.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \24\See, e.g., Pub. L. No. 114-113, Sec. 736 (``None of the funds 
made available in this or any other Act may be used to pay for the 
painting of a portrait of an officer or employee of the Federal 
government, including the President, the Vice President, a member of 
Congress (including a Delegate or a Resident Commissioner to Congress), 
the head of an executive branch agency (as defined in section 133 of 
title 41, United States Code), or the head of an office of the 
legislative branch.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Senator Bill Cassidy introduced S. 188 on January 23, 2017 
with Senators Ron Johnson, Claire McCaskill, and Deb Fischer. 
The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and 
Governmental Affairs. Senator Joni Ernst joined as a cosponsor 
on March 21, 2017.
    The Committee considered S. 188 at a business meeting on 
March 15, 2017. The Committee ordered the bill reported 
favorably en bloc by voice vote. Members present for the vote 
were Senators Johnson, Portman, Lankford, Daines, McCaskill, 
Carper, Tester, Heitkamp, Peters, Hassan, and Harris.

        IV. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE BILL, AS REPORTED

Section 1. Short title

    This section provides the bill's short title, the 
``Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting Act'' or ``EGO 
Act.''

Section 2. Prohibition on use of funds for portraits

    Subsection (a) states that no funds appropriated or 
otherwise made available to the Federal Government may be used 
to pay for the painting of a portrait of an officer or employee 
of the federal government, including the President, the Vice 
President, a Member of Congress, the head of an Executive 
agency, or the head of an office of the Legislative Branch.
    Subsection (b) defines ``executive agency'' and ``Member of 
Congress.''

                   V. EVALUATION OF REGULATORY IMPACT

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                                    March 24, 2017.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 188, the EGO Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

S. 188--EGO Act

    S. 188 would amend federal law to prohibit the use of 
federal funds to pay for official painted portraits of any 
officer or employee of the federal government, including the 
President, Vice President, Cabinet members, and Members of 
Congress. The legislation would not apply to the judicial 
branch.
    Appropriation laws have prohibited the use of federal funds 
for such portraits since fiscal year 2014. CBO is unaware of 
any comprehensive information on spending for official 
portraits before 2014, but we expect that most portraits of 
federal officials are for those in the line of succession to 
the presidency, members of the legislative branch, and military 
service personnel. The cost of such portraits appears to be 
about $25,000 per portrait, based on contract awards for a few 
federal portraits.
    Implementing S. 188 could reduce future discretionary costs 
because the prohibition on using appropriated funds for such 
portraits is not in permanent law. However, those effects would 
be less than $500,000 annually because CBO expects that fewer 
than 20 portraits would be purchased with federal funds in most 
years. Enacting S. 188 could affect direct spending by some 
agencies not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that 
any net changes in spending by those agencies would be 
negligible. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 188 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 188 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    Because S. 188 would not repeal or amend any provision of 
current law, it would make no changes in existing law within 
the meaning of clauses (a) and (b) of paragraph 12 of rule XXVI 
of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

                                  [all]