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(10) The House restaurant, for which $60,000 is specifically provided in the appropriation paragraph for payment to the Architect of the Capitol, as authorized by law, toward the upkeep and operation of the House restaurants.
(11) Exchange, operation, and repair of the Clerk's motor vehicles.
(12) Exchange, operation, and repairs of the post office motor vehicles.
(13) Exchange, operation, and repairs of the folding room motor truck.
(14) Hire of automobile for the Sergeant at Arms.
(15) Stationery for standing committees, officers, and departments of the House.
(16) Electrical and mechanical office equipment for the Members, including committees, officers, and departments of the House.
(17) Services and repairs to electrical and mechanical office equipment furnished under allocation No. 16.
(18) Rental of office space for Members of Congress in their home districts, as provided in the appropriation paragraph.
(19) Official expenses of Members not to exceed $150 quarterly for office expenses incurred outside the District of Columbia.
(20) Government contribution for Federal employees' group life insurance.
(21) Government contribution for civil service retirement fund. (22) Contested election cases. (23) Former Speaker's automobile.
(24) Government contribution for Federal employee's health benefits program.
(25) Nonexpenditure transfer authorizations.
For the fiscal year 1963, we budgeted $2,600,000, compared with $2,550,000 appropriated for 1962, or an increase of $50,000.
Mr. Chairman, before leaving this item I would like to point out that we have only requested an increase in this item of $50,000 since fiscal 1961. During that time many of the items which must be paid out of this fund have greatly increased. As an example, the House has authorized each Member an additional clerk. Additional typewriters have been authorized. The result is that many of the allocations from the 1962 appropriation have been depleted or nearly so as of this date. We will barely have sufficient funds to cover the miscellaneous item expenses for this fiscal year, so that the $2,600,000 requested for fiscal 1963 is a very close figure and should not be cut under any circumstances. As a matter of fact, I strongly recommend that the committee may wish to consider adding an additional $50,000 to prevent the necessity of our going in for a supplemental or deficiency. We have a number of specific examples to justify this position; however, I cite the civil service retirement matching fund carried as item 21 as one instance. We are now required to send to the Civil Service Commission $112,000 each month. Furthermore, it is increasing at the rate of about $1,000 per month.
In the matter of electrical equipment, I allocated from the miscellaneous items fund $198,000. As of this date, that fund has been obligated.
Projecting as best we can, it appears that for fiscal 1963, a minimum of $2,650,000 will be required.
I again wish to repeat that all of these allocations are for certain exceptions, mostly arbitrary, that may be changed upward or downward, depending upon conditions that may arise throughout the full fiscal year. I might further state for the information of the committee that all disbursements made from the appropriation for "Miscellaneous items" must receive my personal approval, and also the approval of the Committee on House Administration.
Mr. STEED. Mr. Roberts, because of the emphasis you have placed on the urgency of this item, are you saying that we may be in a situation for the current year where we may have a deficiency that would be required here?
Mr. ROBERTS. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROBERTS. If the request for typewriters and other mechanical equipment continues as it has for the last 3 months, I am sure we will have a deficiency. In January we spent $30,000 and in February we spent $31,000 and in December we spent $30,000.
Mr. STEED. Is this the first year we have gotten into such a tight spot in this field ?
the contingent fund, but for the last 3 or 4 years you have not appropriated any extra money. We have been dipping into that and we finally absorbed all of that surplus.
Mr. STEED. What was the surplus in 1961 ?
Mr. HARPER. Going back a little further, you can get our reasoning for not asking for more money. In fiscal 1959, we had a surplus of $136,000; in 1960 we had a surplus of $254,000; in 1961 we had a surplus of $154,000, so as we came into 1962 with those surpluses, each year, it was our considered opinion we could not justify before your committee an increase when we were running a surplus each year. As we came into 1962, with the increase of one additional electrical typewriter for every Member and two additional electrical typewriters for some Members, over 500,000, that increased the possibility of spending over $200,000 on that one item alone.
Then when we take into consideration the additional clerk hire authorized, we pull out of the miscellaneous items fund the Government's contribution to retirement, insurance, and health benefits. That resolution had the effect of adding an additional drain on those items.
As we face you now, instead of having a surplus at the end of this year, it appears we will barely have sufficient funds to carry us to the end of the year so we are asking for an additional amount for 1963. I thought we might be over the hump in the electrical equipment department but I called yesterday and found that roughly only half of the Members have availed themselves of this, so we might not be over the hump. It is just a simple fact that for a number of years we carried a substantial surplus in this miscellaneous items category but now we have come to the point where we are down to bedrock on it and we are giving it the best estimate that we can.
Mr. STEED. On this matter of additional cost for retirement of employees, life insurance, and health benefits, do you have those figures where you can put them in the record ?
Mr. HARPER. Yes. I can give them to you now if you want to take the time to listen.
Mr. STEED. Maybe this would help.
tell us in terms of numbers of employees who participated in this as against those who are eligible !
Mr. HARPER. Yes, sir. I will make a short statement on retirement.
Mr. STEED. In other words, are there substantial numbers of employees who have not participated in one or all of these items? If so, I think
you have to assume some margin over what is actually of record because I think the tendency would be for more to participate in the future rather than fewer.
Mr. HARPER. I will make a short statement on each one of these principal items.
In the retirement program as of December 31, 1961,2,383 employees of the House of Representatives were participating. We pay approximately 4,200 people so there is a potential of approximately 2,000 people who could walk in tomorrow because they have the privilege of joining the retirement program at any time they desire. These 2,000 people could walk in tomorrow and come under the program and that is a large item because we have to match their deductions and for each employee who participates in the program we deduct 6.5 percent of his salary. Every time a new employee joins the program we have to match that 6.5 percent. There is a potentially large increase and it has increased over the years.
It is steadily going up because people are becoming aware of the benefits. That is the principal one.
The insurance items is another one where we have a strange situation in the House. As of December 31, 1961, 3,350 employees of the House were participating in the Government insurance program as against the possibility of 4,200 people. We have to match one-half of the premiums under the insurance program.
We find that governmentwide, 95 percent of the employees participate in the insurance program. In the House of Representatives, we have 20 percent of the people who do not participate in the program and we are at a loss in our office to understand that difference.
For the record and for the guidance of the people who may be advising the new employees, I think it is a mistake to advise them not to come under this program because the costs of the premium comes to 54 cents per $1,000 per month which is a very reasonable figure, We have had some sad instances of people who waived their rights to insurance; one for instance in January of this year. We had an employee come on the rolls who waived his rights to Government insurance and before the end of the month he had a heart attack and passed away.
Mr. STEED. That is why I say I think you have to anticipate that this
percentage is going up.
The other one we have a problem with is the health benefits program which came into being a year and a half ago. As of last December we had 2,554 employees of the House participating in the health benefits program and that is roughly half of our employees. However, there are some extenuating circumstances there because if one employee has a family plan that obviates the necessity of any other members of his family having that. In this particular item it is not subject to fluctuations as much as the rest because the period is closed
and only new employees coming in can now elect to come under the health benefits program.
In this case, the contribution we have to make is between 30 and 50 percent of the amount of the total premium and the employee has an clection as to the type of program in which he participates.
The costs vary, depending upon his selection, whether it is a family plan or a single plan.
The Government puts up 50 percent of the basic cost; that is for a single person using the minimum plan.
If you get into a high-option plan, and a man with a family, the Government contribution drops down to 30 percent. All of these contributing items are increasing steadily and you will see from the record of the clerk's statement that this has gone up. We have now gotten to the place where we will absorb all of the surplus carried this appropriation for a number of years.
Mr. STEED. In view of the fact that the next Congress will occur during this coming fiscal year and will have the impact of a reallocation of the seats in Congress by virtue of the census, while in total this may not be any greater in the turnover in numbers than in prior years, this will still be considerable. In the case of retirement of a Member for whatever reason, the furniture and equipment he has been using is disposed of in what way?
What disposal do you make of that? Does that go back into the pool for reassignment or what?
Mr. MEGILL. It stays with district, Mr. Chairman. It is not assigned to the person but it is assigned to the district. It goes with the Representative who represents the particular district.
Mr. STEED. I have a case in mind where two districts have been combined and there will be only one man now where there were two before.
Does that new district get the benefit of both the old districts' allotments, or how do you do that?
Will you tell me how that will be done?
This will be the first time this has occurred since the electrical equipment thing.
Mr. MEGILL. Exactly. It is the first time that the problem of adjusting the added clerk-hire allowance for the 500,000 district has come up, whether you take it away or not. Who is to judge when it is to be done? That point in the Legislative Act is not too clear.
The clerk now takes the certification of the Bureau of the Census for increasing it, but there is going to be a problem with reference to whether the clerk should ask —
Mr. STEED. You are going to have to determine whether it happened the day the legislature enacted the consolidation, or whether it happened at the end of the Member's term?
Mr. MEGILL. No; Mr. Chairman. The point is that where there is an adjustment in the lines of the new district-take for instance the State of California, which gains 8 additional Representatives there are many districts that are above 500,000 now, but with the redistribution of the population, those districts may fall below 500,000. Some are above it now and others will have districts below 500,000 but there is going to be some discretion necessary to see whether you will pull back the added clerk-hire allowance for the Member who fails below 500,000 and who is going to exercise that judgment ?
Mr. STEED. The effective date of that change would be at the beginning of the new Congress? Mr. MEGILL. The 3d of January, next year. It is then when the decision will be made.
On the question of the electrical equipment, the rules under which the Clerk operated are laid down by the House Administration Committee. The problem you raise will be one that they will struggle with and direct themselves to.
HIRING OFFICE SPACE
Mr. STEED. What is the situation on the item of hiring office space for Members in their home districts? Has there been any substantial change up or down on that?
Mr. HARPER. I can tell you that as of the end of last month, there were 206 Members who maintained district offices. Of those 206, 6 had 2 offices. They are allowed two offices. Only 6 had 2 offices, but 206 had offices in the districts.
That was a little higher than last year.
Mr. STEED. We have some new language in the bill on page 34. Could you explain that for us?
Not to exceed $5,000 for purposes authorized by section 1 of House Resolution 348, approved June 29, 1961.
Mr. MEGILL. In the statement on page 8, Mr. Chairman, we carry the text of House Resolution 348 which is the basis of that request.
Mr. STEED. Have any moneys been expended under that resolution in this fiscal year?
Mr. HARPER. I do not believe so, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. STEED. Since this appropriation involves a wide variety of things, and under which considerable procurement of necessity falls, could you give us some information about the sort of problems you have encountered in having to pass on these purchases and whether or not it has been necessary to disapprove any of them? What experience have
had? Mr. ROBERTS. Are you talking about electrical and mechanical equipment? Mr. STEED. Anything in the miscellaneous items. The whole field you have here to supervise.
ELECTRICAL AND MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT
Mr. ROBERTS. On the electrical and mechanical equipment, we have a committee subchairman who tries to look after that in House Administration. It did pass a few laws giving us directions on certain things, but they have never told us how long a Member should use a typewriter. We have arbitrarily tried to hold the line at 5 years. If it is over 5 years old, we consider getting rid of it and getting a new typewriter if requested. If it is anything less than 5 years old, we do not give consideration to the request.