2010 vs. 2020: How The Legislative Branch Distributes Its Funds

Congress is underfunded, plain and simple.

The Legislative Branch has received the smallest slice of the federal spending pie— less than 1% of all non-defense discretionary funds — for years. How does Congress allocate these limited funds? Have those priorities shifted over the last decade?

We took a look at the 2010 and 2020 Legislative Branch budgets, plus the proposed values for 2021 to find out. Historic values were adjusted to 2020 dollars; figures do not include supplemental appropriations or Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) appropriations.

As the graphs above show, Congress has invested most heavily in the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), the Library of Congress (LOC), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Capitol Police (USCP), and the office expense accounts for the House and Senate — Member Representational Allowance (MRA) and Senators’ Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA).

Over the last decade, USCP, AOC, GAO, and LOC have experienced the largest dollar increases to their budgets, while the MRA and SOPOEA have been cut. 

Download the underlying data here or view it in the spreadsheet below. 

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By Amelia Strauss