GPO Director Presents FY 2022 Appropriations Request to Congress
U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) Director Hugh Nathanial Halpern presented GPO’s FY 2022 appropriations request before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Appropriations. Halpern requested appropriations in the amount of $125,549,000, a 7.3 percent increase over GPO’s FY 2021 appropriation. This increase reflects growing costs in labor and materials, as well as funding for certain initiatives of importance to Congress and the rest of the Legislative branch. Is it the first time since FY 2014 GPO has asked for a major increase in appropriations.
The FY 2022 request will enable GPO to:
- Meet projected requirements for congressional publishing;
- Fund the operation of the public information programs of the Superintendent of Documents; and
- Develop information technology, including IT cybersecurity measures, to support congressional publishing and public information programs operations.
“The COVID-19 pandemic caused GPO’s biggest operational disruption since the Civil War,” said Halpern. “We began running monthly deficits in March of 2020 and have lost approximately $30.1 million through January 2021. Luckily, we have been able to rely on our cash reserves to carry us through the pandemic without furloughs or layoffs. If we can stay healthy and productive, I am hopeful that we can make up ground that we lost in 2020.”
Halpern explained that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced GPO to halt production of the U.S. passport for several months. With Congress meeting less frequently and Federal customers sending fewer orders, other sources of revenue also plummeted. GPO reduced the number of teammates in the building at any one time to improve social distancing, leading to lower production. GPO increased its spending to equip and reengineer facilities to protect against COVID-19 and paid more than $7 million in emergency pay to teammates who worked at facilities during the initial months of the pandemic.
With the release of its GPOSAFE return to work plan in July 2020, the agency began the first step in its effort to return to work. GPO recently moved to step 2 of its GPOSAFE plan, safely resuming full passport production and ramping up some press and bindery operations to 100 percent. Maximum telework has been in place for eligible employees since the pandemic began.