August 1, 2012
As ordered reported by the Committee on House Administration on July 19, 2012
Under current law, personal expenses are not payable from appropriations without specific statutory authority. H.R. 1402 would provide such authority by authorizing the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) to use funds that have already been appropriated to install battery recharging stations that would allow House employees to replenish the batteries that power plug-in electric vehicles. The bill would require those employees to pay fees sufficient to reimburse the AOC for the costs of installing and operating those stations. In addition, the AOC would provide an annual report to the Congress and one additional report within three years of enactment on the finances of the recharging program.
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1402 would increase direct spending by allowing the AOC to spend existing balances that CBO expects would otherwise not be spent under current law; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. The costs to install and operate recharging stations could vary depending upon the type of system and number of stations constructed. Based on information from the AOC regarding its plans to install stations in the Senate parking areas and the anticipated needs of employees in the House of Representatives, CBO estimates that the AOC would spend less than $10,000 installing recharging stations. That amount would be offset in future years by increased collections generated from monthly fees that the AOC would charge to House employees who use the recharging stations. Enacting H.R. 1402 would not affect revenues.
CBO also estimates that spending in future years to install additional charging stations would total less than $20,000 annually, subject to appropriation of the necessary amounts. Future costs could be higher if the number of plug-in vehicles increases and if more advanced recharging stations are needed. Fees to use those charging stations would recover the installation cost over several years, CBO estimates.
H.R. 1402 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
On May 20, 2012, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 739, a bill to authorize the Architect of the Capitol to establish battery charging stations for privately owned vehicles in parking areas under the jurisdiction of the Senate at no net cost to the federal government, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on May 12, 2012. The two pieces of legislation are similar, but the cost estimates differ because we expect implementation costs in the Senate to be lower (since it has a smaller staff). We expect the cost of either bill would eventually be recovered through user fees.