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$53,900,000 59,820,000 64,000,000 74,777,000 82,505,000 117,329,250 103,268,000 112,648,300 112,648,3003/ 118,307,600
1/ Number of House employees in the month of December except
for 1980 estimate 2/ Number of House employees as of January 1979 3/ Does not include pending pay supplemental of $5,142,400.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Other questions?
CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF THE HOUSE-ALLOWANCES AND
EXPENSES Mr. HENSHAW. Mr. Chairman, we will now present for the subcommittee's consideration estimates for a group of Treasury accounts and line items commonly referred to as the Contingent
Fund of thimate for fiscaofficial Expen, Furniture
The for the Member House suppliesursements
The estimate for fiscal year 1980 is $62,376,700. In addition to funds for the Members' Official Expenses Allowances, this estimate includes amounts for House supplies, furniture, furnishings, stenographic costs for committees, reimbursements to the Civil Service Retirement Fund for reemployed annuitants, Government contributions for employees' benefits and certain miscellaneous items.
The next page of my testimony graphically depicts the various categories of allowances and expenses, which is on page 37.
[The chart follows:]
OFFICIAL EXPENSES OF MEMBERS Mr. HENSHAW. A schedule comparing the Appropriations for the various categories for fiscal year 1978, 1979, and 1980 appears on page 59 of the Subcommittee Print. Mr. BENJAMIN. Would you withhold at that point? Mr. HENSHAW. Yes, sir. Mr. BENJAMIN. I am going to ask you to include in the record pages 38 through 44 and open yourself to questions from the subcommittee at this time on official expenses of Members.
[The page follows:]
35-533 0 - 79 - 28 (Pt. 2)
OFFICIAL EXPENSES OF MEMBERS
GENERAL DESCRIPTION For Official Expenses of Members, $39,418,800. This is the category that includes Members' Congressional Allowances except Clerk Hire. I have inserted on page 39 for the record a bar graph summary of the individual cost centers which make up Members' Official Expenses Allowances, together with a preceding nine year history.
Under this allowance each Member is presently entitled to $32,911 plus variable amounts for travel, telecommunications and rental of district office space. These latter amounts depend, respectively, on distance to the farthest point in each District, election of WATS service and cost per minute of telephone toll charges, and GSA cost per square foot of office space. The allowance totals range from a low of $59,810 to a high of $183,911. The average annual allowance is approximately $75,000.
In addition, Members may allocate up to $15,000 annually of unused Clerk Hire funds to their Official Expenses Allowances. As I mentioned in my earlier testimony regarding Members' Clerk Hire, we budget for these “transfers” under Official Expenses of Members and correspondingly reduce our request for Members' Clerk Hire. In 1978 59 per cent of the Members allocated over 2.5 million dollars to Official Expenses.
To assist you in future reviews of the component accounts which make up the category "Official Expenses of Members”, the Office of Finance will continue to summarize disbursements by individual cost centers such as travel, constituent communications, telecommunications, etc. This will also enable our office to statistically monitor the spending performance of Members and more accurately identify financial needs. In addition, the Office of Finance will summarize your monthly disbursements by type of expense and include the schedule with your monthly allowance statement. We believe this will greatly facilitate your own office budgeting. These capabilities are incorporated in the computerized financial management system of the House. I would like at this time to discuss each category of the Official Expenses of Members.
NEWSLETTERS Newsletters.-Of the nearly 39.4 million dollars requested for this line item, $3,602,000 is estimated for Constituent Communications. This does not include your regular Congressional letterhead used in personal correspondence or the franking costs, but rather pertains primarily to newsletters. The disbursements in fiscal year 1978 averaged nearly $278,000 per month or approximately $630 per Member.
COMPUTERS Computers.-We estimate the Members will spend $3,141,000 for various means of computer support in the operation of their Congressional offices. This account is receiving increased utilization. Effective the beginning of the 96th Congress, the Committee on House Administration required that all contracts for outside computer support be on file with the Committee and the Office of Finance before any 1979 obligations could be paid. This will allow management studies to be conducted on the contract terms, servicing and rates of computer services. This category does not include computer support costs for certain committees or the funding for House Information Systems, which are included under Special and Select Committees.
EQUIPMENT Equipment. For the purchase, lease and maintenance of Members' electrical and mechanical office equipment, we are including $4,531,000. The actual dollar amount included in each Member's Official Expenses Allowance for leased equipment is $9,000 per year. As you know, your purchased office equipment is limited by an inventory valuation of $5,500 per Member. In addition to the costs of purchased and leased equipment, we also pay for the maintenance of Members' purchased equip ment from this appropriation. The repair of leased equipment is handled by the lessor.
The House continued a new program initiated in 1978 whereby the General Services Administration (GSA) would acquire certain equipment for use in Members' district offices. Prior to 1978, Members could lease certain approved items for use in the District, while GSA would provide certain purchased items. Under the present program GSA will purchase equipment previously leased by the Member and charge it against a GSA allowance which is also used for carpeting, furnishing, etc. The U.S. House of Representatives will reimburse GSA from funds provided