With local governments around the country tightening their belts, Congress is loosening theirs. The House last week approved a 5.8% bump in the legislative budget, and the Senate is poised to do so as well. That’ll bring Capitol Hill’s annual budget to $4.7 billion, Politico reports. Expenditures include $500,000 for senators to send out postcards about their town hall programs, $4 million for consultants, and $15.8 million for Senate Appropriations Committee salaries.
Funding for House office buildings got a stunning 128% boost to $84 million, which will pay for several renovations. But lawmakers say they were downright frugal this year; last year they raised its budget 10.9%. The figure is also below the $5 billion Obama proposed for the year. “This is a fiscally responsible bill,” said a Ben Nelson spokesman. (Read more Congress stories.)