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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

House Committee Funding: Description of Process and Analysis of Disbursements

Matthew Eric Glassman
Analyst on the Congress

Funding for House committees (except for the Committee on Appropriations) follows a two-step process of authorization and appropriation. Operating budgets for all standing and select committees of the House (except for the Committee on Appropriations) are authorized pursuant to a simple resolution, and funding is provided in the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill and other appropriations acts. Subsequent resolutions may change committee authorizations.

At the outset of the 112
th Congress, the House had agreed to H.Res. 22, which reduced the amount authorized for salaries and expenses of Member, committee, and leadership offices in 2011 and 2012. This resolution, agreed to on January 6, 2011, stated that the aggregate amount authorized for expenses of committees for the years 2011 and 2012 could not exceed 95% of the total amount authorized for 2009 and 2010.

On March 17, 2011, the House adopted H.Res. 147, providing for the expenses of committees of the House of Representatives in the 112
th Congress, by voice vote. The resolution authorized a total of $284.8 million for committee expenses, $141.3 million for the first session and $143.5 million for the second session.

On February 1, 2012, the House adopted H.Res. 496, adjusting the amount provided for the expenses of certain committees of the House of Representatives in the 112
th Congress, by voice vote. The resolution reduced the aggregate second session authorization by $8.7 million, resulting in an adjusted second session authorization of $134.9 million (a 6.0% reduction) and a total biennial authorization of $276.2 million for the 112th Congress.

The use of committee funds is subject to chamber rules, law, and regulations promulgated by the Committee on House Administration, the Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, and the Ethics Committee. Committee funds may only be used to support the conduct of official business of the committee. They may not be used for personal or campaign purposes. Information on individual committee spending is published quarterly in the Statements of Disbursement of the House.

This report is organized in three sections. The first provides an overview of the committee funding process in the House and analyzes funding levels since 1995. The second reviews House floor and committee action on committee funding in the 112
th Congress. The final section summarizes the rules and regulations that structure the use of committee funds, and analyzes actual committee funding spending patterns during five previous years.

For specific authorization levels of individual committees, see CRS Report RL32794, House Committee Funding Requests and Authorizations, 104
th-112th Congresses, by Matthew Eric Glassman.

Date of Report: March 13, 2013
Number of Pages: 13
Order Number: R42778
Price: $29.95

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