xvi Introduction Over the years Congress’s roles and responsibilities have changed, both for- mally and informally. These modifications have systematically altered the structures and procedures of committee functions and legislative processes, including the filibuster and earmarking, hearings and investigations. Legisla- tive partners have also come and gone, as seen in the birth of the Congressional Budget Office, the controversial expansion of the Botanical Garden, and the demise of the Office of Science and Technology. Others, such as the Congres- sional Research Service, the Government Accountability and Printing Offices, the Botanical Garden, the Library of Congress, and the Architect of the Capitol have been stalwart partners through the years. Follow the Money This book examines Congress’s roles and responsibilities and how they have changed over time and in accordance with Constitutional expecta- tions. Of course, these obligations and expectations come with price tags, and we explore those extensively in each chapter. To do this, we combine extensive document research with in-depth interviews of current and for- mer members and staff within Congress and at legislative partner organi- zations. Their insights provide unique insider perspectives on institutional activities during good times and bad. In essence, this book follows the money to provide a comprehensive case history of the inner workings of the Legislative Branch. So, what makes this book so different from the multitude of books on Congress in libraries and bookstores? To start with, this is the only book to focus on the cost of Congress. Some focus on the sausage-making: Congres- sional politics, contributions and lobbying, bill-maneuvering and voting records, party and caucus infighting and lawmaking, etc. Others discuss the appropriations process—Congress’s “power of the purse”—the logistics and legal aspects of the budget process and the impact of politics and political gamesmanship on Congress’s mandate and ability to fund government. And then there are some that explore the Constitutional underpinnings of Con- gress and the Legislative Branch’s relationship with the other branches. None of the books currently available examine how the Legislative Branch spends its annual allowance and the burden the typical taxpayer bears as a result. This book, however, does exactly that. This conversation is not to be confused with discussions of government waste or fiscal abuse, like paying $600 for toilet seats or $2,000 for screws.14 Rather, this book examines the physical and fiscal needs and obligations of Congressional operations. In addition to making laws, the Legislative Branch ensures that all of the functions of the other two branches are fully funded. In fact, the “power of the purse” is its primary responsibility. It provides the Executive Branch and its agencies (i.e., the Departments of Education, Energy,
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