Vote Explanation for H.R. 5325 — Fiscal Year 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act
The Fiscal Year 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act provides $3.48 billion for the offices of Members of the House of Representatives, the support agencies of Congress, security and police forces, services for visitors, and Capitol operations and maintenance. Overall, the legislation includes increased funding for many of the offices and resources that allow the House to operate in a efficient and transparent manner. This includes:
- $1.19 billion for the U.S. House of Representatives
- $391.3 million for the Capitol Police
- $628.9 million for the Library of Congress
- $533 million for the Government Accountability Office
However, I voted against H.R. 5325 because it would continue to fund the Republican’s Select Committee on Benghazi as well as the Select Committee on Planned Parenthood. The politically-motivated Benghazi Committee has so far cost U.S. taxpayers $7 million and lasted 763 days, which is longer than the investigations of Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy Assassination, Iran-Contra, and Hurricane Katrina. The Select Committee on Planned Parenthood has found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood or any other health care provider.
This legislation also includes a provision that would force the Library of Congress to continue using the pejorative term “illegal aliens” in its subject headings. In March, the Library of Congress decided to use “noncitizen” and “unauthorized immigration,” rather than “illegal aliens,” as subject headings in its cataloguing of information. This is the first time in the history of the U.S. Congress that legislators have interfered in the Library’s subject headings processes, and they are doing so to force the use of a derogatory term by the Library of Congress.
While I support providing Congressional staff, Capitol Police, the Library of Congress, and other House and Senate services with more resources to carry out their important work, the legislative branch should not be wasting taxpayer dollars on politically-motivated witch hunts or for the continued use dehumanizing language in our federal documents.