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But we are set up primarily to work for the committees of the House.
Mr. CONTE. And how about the leadership and individual Members?
Mr. HUSSEY. We have really very few requests, both from the Majority leadership and the Minority leadership. We do work in about equal amounts for both of them, but they are a relatively very small portion of our work. We do a tremendous amount of work for individual Members and in my statement I have the figures on it.
I can just refer to that.
Mr. HUSSEY. In the 95th Congress we did 7,899 bills for individual Members.
Now, on that we do it on a first come, first serve basis. However, they don't always go out at the same time, because the bills are assigned to attorneys according to their specialty. If the attorney is already busy with committee work, which is his specialty, the individual Member may have to wait longer than if it's assigned to an attorney in another field who at that moment is not deeply engaged in committee work.
But it's first come, first serve.
Mr. CONTE. What kind of a backlog do you have for each of the different priority groups?
Mr. HUSSEY. As of the moment, sir, we are completely current. If you come to us around October of the second session we will have a tremendous backlog in all categories.
Mr. CONTE. Are any offices abusing or over-utilizing your services?
Mr. HUSSEY. I don't believe so, sir. In anticipation of a question like that, I had our file clerk research it and in the 95th Congress we had 27 Members of Congress who had job requests ranging from 32 jobs to 67 jobs. Now we do not consider that an undue burden on us; some of these are small jobs (such as immigration jobs), and they don't take much time. That's the range of it. That's 27 Members ranging from 32 to 67 jobs for a two-year period.
Mr. CONTE. I think you ought to be complimented on the job you are doing in trying to keep the employment down and still do your job.
Mr. HUSSEY. Thank you.
ATTORNEYS' SALARIES Mr. HUSSEY. One of the difficulties, if I can just say one more word about that, is it takes two years to train a draftsman, so we have to look two years ahead to see what our needs are going to be two years ahead. So I am skating on rather thin ice on holding the line, and I hope I can make it.
Mr. CONTE. But then the other problem you have which we are all getting into, is there are these committees that have increased their employment by so much, and they are getting such high salaries that everybody is shopping around up here. It makes it very, very difficult to get a young lawyer. I am looking for two or
three young lawyers right now, and I am having a very difficult time finding them. Mr. HUSSEY. Sir, you have trouble in keeping them, too. Mr. CONTE. No doubt about that.
Mr. HUSSEY. My starting salary next summer will be $22,000 over there. And I hope to get good people for that.
Mr. MICHEL. Some of the more prestigious law firms now also have substantial starting salaries. I heard from our son, who hasn't even passed the Bar yet and was just getting his resumes out, and they have already signed him up for $24,000 and they don't even know what he can do.
Mr. CONTE. I used to work for $25 a week when I got out of law school. Let me tell you the rest of that story. I went in to see this great trial lawyer up home; he was the best trial lawyer in the county, so I went up there and asked for a job.
He said yes, and we didn't ever discuss salary. Just before I left he said, "how much do you expect to get?" and I said, "well, that's up to you, sir. And he said, well, I will give you $25 a week, but you are not worth it.” And he said, I don't want to see you walking around this office with a hungry look on your face, and that's the only reason I am giving it to you." But it was the best training I ever got.
Today they all want to start in at a big, handsome salary.
APPROPRIATIONS, ACTUAL EXPENDITURES, UNEXPENDED BALANCES
coule said yes, anch do you expect, I will give
MEMBERS' CLERK HIRE Mr. BENJAMIN. On the Members' Clerk Hire, pages 32 through 35, we will include that in the record at this time, and open it to questions on the calculations of Members' Clerk-Hire, which appears on pages 32 through 35. [The information follows:]
MEMBERS' CLERK HIRE We are requesting $118,307,600 for Members' Clerk Hire to provide for the employment of staff in the offices of Members, the Resident Commissioner, and Delegates. This is slightly greater than a five percent increase or $5,659,300 over the fiscal year 1979 appropriation enacted to date. However, after adjusting the fiscal year 1979 appropriation for the 1979 pending pay supplemental there is only a small
increase for fiscal year 1980. The supplemental request for the current fiscal year is necessary to cover the pay raise granted to employees by many Members in October 1978.
PAY RAISE STATISTICS Before I analyze the Clerk Hire request, you may find the following pay raise statistics interesting: Of the 439 Members, Delegates, and Resident Commissioner, 112 Members or 25.5 percent of the total gave all their Clerk Hire employees a uniform 5.5 percent salary increase; 275 Members or 62.6 percent of the total gave raises of other amounts; and only 52 Members or 11.9 percent of the total gave no raise at all.
EXPLANATION AND UTILIZATION OF CLERK HIRE ALLOWANCE Mr. Chairman, several changes have taken place in the Clerk Hire account since my testimony before this Subcommittee last year. Although we are not asking for an actual increase in fiscal year 1980, you may find an in-depth review of the changes helpful. The maximum number of staff employees remained the same, at 18 per Member. However, the annual amount of Clerk Hire funds available was increased October 1, 1978 from $273,132 to $288,156. This was necessary to accommodate the pay comparability or Cost of Living increase. Increases in this allowance for other than pay comparability purposes must be approved by House Resolution. There were no increases of this type in the Clerk Hire allowance in 1978. The Clerk Hire minimum and maximum rates of pay are fixed at annual rates of no less than $1,200 or in excess of $47,500. The maximum rate is tied to the Executive Level V, which is currently $47,500
The following statistics were prepared by the Office of Finance and will allow us to better analyze the use of the Clerk Hire Allowance.
During December 1978, the Members employed a total of 6,952 people or an average of 15.8, at an average annual salary of $15,956. Twenty-five percent of the Members employed persons at the maximum annual salary of $47,500.
Members used an average of $255,836 in Clerk Hire funds of the $276,888 available to them.
TRANSFER UNUSED CLERK HIRE FUNDS Effective January 3, 1978, in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Committee on House Administration, a maximum of $15,000 of unused Clerk Hire could be transferred into Members' Official Expenses Allowances. During Calendar year 1978, 59 percent of the Members availed themselves of this program, allocating more than 2.5 million dollars. I might point out to the Committee that we request finding for the amounts transferred under Official Expenses of Members in the Contingent Expenses of the House which I will elaborate on later in my testimony. However, we are not budgeting twice for these funds, nor are the funds actually transferred from Clerk Hire to Official Expenses of Members. Since the Member's annual Clerk Hire Allowance is reduced by the allocation, we compensate for this by not requesting as much funding in Clerk Hire. The end result is a lower Clerk Hire funding request and a higher Official Expenses of Members request.
MEMBERS' CLERK HIRE NOT BUDGETED AT 100 PERCENT If we recommended the maximum amount available to Members, our request would be $126,500,484. However, because not all Members use the maximum number of positions or gross amount of their Clerk Hire Allowance, we do not request the maximum amount. This year we are under funding by 6.48 percent or about 8.19 million dollars.
DISCLOSURE OF PAYROLL As you know, the Committee on House Administration requires us to disclose publicly each Member's signed monthly payroll certification. We may not release checks for employees of a Member who has not returned the prior month's signed certification to the Office of Finance. In 1978, we had 200 requests as compared to 300 in 1977 to view the payroll accounts.
POSSIBLE CHANGES IN CLERK HIRE ALLOWANCE Mr. Chairman, I am aware that the Committee on House Administration, pursuant to the recommendations of the Democratic Caucus, will be considering during this session certain changes in the use of the Clerk Hire Allowance. Certain pro posed changes, although not increasing the dollar value of the allowance, could increase the utilization rate and thus could require additional funding. As I men
tioned earlier, we are requesting $118,307,600 for fiscal year 1980. However, if all Members used their full allowance, we would need over 126 million dollars. Inasmuch as the Committee has not held its hearings on the proposed changes, we cannot ascertain the exact increase, if any, at this time. We are confident, however, that one hundred percent budgeting of this account will not be necessary.
CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF THE HOUSE
THE CONTINGENT FUND The word “Contingent” in the heading is oftentimes misunderstood. Funds in this section are not requested to cover unforeseen expenses or obligations happening only by chance. Rather, the estimates which account for over one-third of the total House request pertain to specifically authorized or approved programs.
Approximately 80 percent of the Contingent Fund estimates relate to the allowances of Members and obligations of the investigating committees. I will now examine each of the Treasury Accounts and Line Items in detail.
Mr. COLLEY. Mr. Chairman, page 34, next to the last paragraph, is referring back to your discussion on the supplemental this morning. That paragraph summarizes how much underfunded we are in the 1980 request basing it on what we have seen the Members use every year.
TRANSFERS FOR COMPUTER USE Mr. MICHEL. Mr. Chairman, might I ask here do you have any statistics to show how many Members are transferring out of their Clerk Hire for that computer business or is it just for expense? Is it that expense item, and then we use that for computer and whatever?
Mr. HENSHAW. They transfer out. Do we have a figure?
Mr. COLLEY. Yes, sir, on page 38 in the testimony, when we get into allowances and expenses. In 1978, 59 percent of the Members allocated over $2.5 million to official expenses.
Mr. MICHEL. I don't know how much that breaks down to in computer services, do you?
Mr. LAWLER. Under that allowance now, as it goes into official expenses, there is no way to earmark what portion of the transfer may have been for computer services. We do have statistics that show approximately 8 percent of our request for the allowances and expenses is spent on computers.
Mr. MICHEL. OK. Thank you.
HISTORY OF NUMBER OF CLERK HIRE EMPLOYEES
I had asked for that table and I guess this would be the place to get it. I looked at pages 55 and 56, and you have the amount of money appropriated from 1971 to 1980. Could you put in a comparable table showing total number employed for that period of time? Mr. COLLEY. In the ten-year period? Yes. Mr. HENSHAW. Yes, sir. Mr. CONTE. Thank you. [The information follows:]