Amidst the turmoil of GPO Public Printer Bill Boarman being forced to step down after not receiving a vote on his confirmation, there’s this news that GPO’s 2012 appropriations have been drastically cut.
While Boarman’s approval did not go through Congress, GPO’s fiscal 2012 funding did, in a spending bill approved by the House and Senate, known as an omnibus because it consolidates a majority of individual spending bills. The bill secured Senate passage Dec. 17 in a 67-32 vote a day after the House approved it 296-121. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.
The bill funds GPO at $90.7 million in fiscal 2012. The budget authority is almost $45 million less than GPO’s fiscal 2011 funding level of $135 million, and close to $48 million less than the White House’s fiscal 2012 budget request of $148.5 million. GPO will also get $500,000 to its revolving fund for information technology development, according to a report (.pdf) accompanying the bill.
House Appropriations Committee’s majority spokesperson Jennifer Hing said language in an earlier House version of the bill requiring the Government Accountability Office to conduct a feasibility study on GPO operations stands.
In July, the House legislative branch appropriations bill, H.R. 2551 (.pdf), highlighted the need to modernize GPO programs. In the report (.pdf) accompanying the bill, lawmakers said they had “some concern about the future of the GPO as a viable printing operation for the federal government.” It also suggested GPO might be privatized, since it already contracts out more than 90 percent of its printing requisitions.
Committee members said a GAO report should examine whether the General Services Administration could take over printing duties for the executive branch and the remainder of the GPO could be privatized. Such a plan would involve transfer of the Superintendent of Documents program to the Library of Congress.