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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Senate Committee Funding: Description of Process and Analysis of Disbursements

Matthew E. Glassman
Analyst on the Congress

Daniel Didech
Research Associate

Funding for Senate committees (except for the Committee on Appropriations and the Select Committee on Ethics) follows a two-step process of authorization and appropriation. Operating budgets for all standing and select committees of the Senate (except for the Committee on Appropriations and the Select Committee on Ethics) are authorized pursuant to a simple resolution, and funding is provided in the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill and other appropriation acts.

On March 5, 2013, the Senate agreed by unanimous consent to S.Res. 64, which authorized a total of $66.1 million for committee expenses for the period from March 1 to September 30, 2013. Due to the high level of uncertainty regarding appropriations available to committees for the full two-year period, no authorization for committee expenses was provided beyond September 30. One or more subsequent authorizing resolutions will be required for the remainder of the 113
th Congress.

During the 112
th Congress (2011-2013), the Senate authorized a total of $242.7 million for committee expenses, including $70.8 million for the March 2011-September 2011 period, $121.4 million for the October 2011-September 2012 period, and $50.6 million for the October 2012- February 2013 period. Additionally, the resolution authorized a total of $15.0 million in special reserve funds.

The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration has jurisdiction over committee funding resolutions and issues regulations governing committee expenditures and staff. Committee expenditures and staff are also regulated by Senate rules, especially Rule XXVI, paragraph 9, and Rule XXVII, as well as by statute. Information on individual committees’ spending is published semi-annually in the Report of the Secretary of the Senate.

This report is organized in three sections. The first provides an overview of the committee funding process in the Senate and analyzes funding levels since 2001. The second reviews Senate floor and committee action on committee funding in the 112
th and 113th Congresses. The final section analyzes committee expenditure patterns during the previous five Congresses.

Date of Report: July 24, 2013
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: R43160
Price: $29.95

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