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Senate Committee Approves $61.3 Million to Fix Own Building

7:25 PM, Aug 2, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Just before breaking away for summer recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 26-3 to approve $61.3 million in spending to fix the Capitol Dome. Only 3 senators on the almost 30-person body voted against the measure. 

US Capitol Building at night Jan 2006

"Breaking from their House counterparts, Senate appropriators today voted to add an additional $61.3 million to the legislative branch spending bill for fiscal 2013 to allow the Architect of the Capitol to continue restoring the aging Capitol Dome," Roll Call reports. "Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and ranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) proposed the funding increase in an amendment to the bill originally slated at $4.2 billion — 0.6 percent below fiscal 2012 levels and 5 percent below agencies’ requests. It passed 26-3."

Today's $61.3 million of funding comes after Congress approved $700 million to improve the National Mall. "The National Mall, which stretches from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol Building, will be transformed from a swath of trampled grass to a grand urban park with spectacular gardens, a skating rink and a tree-framed theater, the Trust for the National Mall said Thursday. The Trust, which is working with the National Park Service to revitalize the Mall, unveiled the winners of a design competition to remake three sections. The projects are part of a $700 million plan to transform the nation's 'front yard' into a world-class park," USA Today reported in May.

According to its own estimate, the Congressional Budget Office projects the budget deficit to be $1.2 trillion this year. 

The only three Republicans to vote against the measure in the committee were Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Jim Moran of Kansas.

The money toward the Senate's own building is expected to pass the full body sometime later this year. 

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