Senate Appropriations Committee Provides More Funding for GPO than House of Representatives, But Falls Far Short of Full Funding
The Senate Appropriations Committee, late Thursday evening (9/15), considered the Legislative Branch appropriations bill, which includes funding for the Government Printing Office (GPO). The Subcommittee did not mark up the bill, instead sending it straight to the full committee for consideration.
The Committee debated three other appropriations bills (Defense; Commerce, Justice, Science; and Financial Services/General Government), starting at 2pm and ending with Legislative Branch at 7pm. The Legislative Branch bill was approved in 10 minutes without debate or amendments. The good news was that there were no amendments to cut GPO funding closer to the House funding levels, but there were no amendments to increase funding either. See Senate Appropriations Committee Press Release and Senate Report on Legislative Branch Appropriations No.112-80.
For GPO, the Senate Appropriations Committee-approved bill includes a total of $116.8 million, $8 million more than the House-passed bill ($108.1 million) and $18.2 million less than FY 2011. The Senate bill includes $500,000 for the Revolving Fund (the House had zeroed it out), $35,000,000 in Salaries and Expenses (the House provided $33.5 million) and $81.3 million for Congressional Printing and Binding (the House provided $74.6 million). Here is a detailed chart showing funding trends (losses) since FY 2010. As you can see, the Revolving Fund had already taken a significant hit, going from $12.7 million in FY 2010 to $1.6 million in FY 2011.
Unlike the House, the Senate Report includes very supportive comments regarding GPO’s work toward efficiencies and modernization, and for FDsys and the FDLP. While some believe that cutting print editions will save large amounts of money, the Senate Appropriations Committee acknowledged “approximately 70 percent of the GPO’s budget represents the prepress cost of congressional publications for online access and print production.”
This bill severely cut government agencies across the board, including Congressional salaries which may result in further salary cuts, furloughs or lay-offs. While Chairman Ben Nelson (D-NE) stressed that Congress and agencies must tighten their belts and live with less, AALL and its members have stressed that these cuts to GPO programs primarily and significantly affect the American public and the legitimacy of our government.
AALL members have played a significant role already in support of GPO funding and we thank you very much for your active involvement. Personalized constituent contacts are critical to success, especially regarding issues that involve money. Senate staff paid particular attention to specific examples of how FDsys and FDLP benefit their constituents.
The Senate bill could next be considered on the Senate floor or directly in a House/Senate conference process. Therefore, continued contacts with all Senators and with key members of House and Senate committees are still needed. A specific action alert will be sent out early next week.
Julie M. Strandlie
Director, Government Relations