House passes legislative branch funding bill

House Republicans passed legislation Wednesday to fund the legislative branch for fiscal 2024, as the party works to pass its remaining spending bills before a looming Nov. 17 shutdown deadline.

House Republicans, along with four Democrats, approved the legislation in a 214-197 vote Wednesday evening. The House, which had already passed five of its annual funding bills, now aims to pass the remaining six funding bills in the coming weeks.

Lawmakers in both chambers, however, have already acknowledged a stopgap measure will likely be needed.

Republicans had previously touted the legislation for funding boosts to recruitment and training for Capitol Police officers, as well as “modest” increases to agencies like the Congressional Budget Office, Library of Congress, and Government Accountability Office.

However, Republicans have also boasted an overall reduction in funding for the bill compared to the previous fiscal year, as well as the “restructuring” of functions for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) — a proposal the party said in a summary earlier this year could save “millions of taxpayer dollars.”

The bill calls for about $5.3 billion in discretionary spending to fund the office of the House of Representatives and joint legislative branch items, which represents a 4.7 percent drop from the previous fiscal year’s levels, or a $262.9 million decrease.

The overall level reaches about $6.7 billion, or 2.4 percent lower than the previous fiscal year’s levels, when accounting for Senate items.

Democrats have panned the bill, with Rep. Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the subcommittee tasked with crafting the measure, saying it would “harm DEI programs and the LGBTQ plus community.”

“This bill eliminates funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion training or program implementation including our own House Office of Diversity and Inclusion — which Republicans have benefited from using,” he also said in a statement.

Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), the chair of the subcommittee that produced the bill, defended the legislation in remarks from the floor Wednesday, however, arguing “nobody’s opposed to diversity or inclusion” and that Republicans are pushing for a new office that would include functions of the current ODI.

“There are currently multiple staff support offices focused on human resources that can be reorganized and streamlined into one, the chief administrative office (CAO), which is consumer-focused and is best suited to create a house-wide office of talent and development,” he said. “That’s a new office that’s created under this bill.”

“ODI was created under house rules as its own office, but we’ll be moving to the reproposed CAO to become a part of the new office of talent development,” Amodei said.

Democrats, meanwhile, railed against the bill, while raising alarm on the floor over its potential impact on diversity in Washington and other proposed cuts.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.