S. 1820, Responsible Use of Taxpayer Dollars for Portraits Act of 2013

Cost Estimate
June 11, 2014

As reported by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on May 21, 2014

CBO estimates that implementing S. 1820 would have no significant effect on the federal budget. The legislation would amend federal law to prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for official portraits for members of Congress, heads of executive agencies, and any leader of an agency or office of the legislative branch other than those in the line of succession to the presidency. The legislation would not apply to the judicial branch. It would limit spending on such portraits to a maximum of $20,000 per portrait.

Current appropriation law prohibits the use of federal funds for portraits in fiscal year 2014. CBO is unaware of any comprehensive information on past spending on official portraits, but we expect that most portraits painted of federal officials not in the line of succession to the presidency are probably in the legislative branch and the Department of Defense. The cost of such portraits appears to be in the neighborhood of $25,000, based on contract awards for a few federal portraits.

CBO estimates that any savings from S. 1820 would be less than $500,000 annually because we expect fewer than 20 portraits are purchased for federal officials not in the line of succession to the presidency in most years. Enacting S. 1820 could affect direct spending by agencies not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that any net changes in spending by those agencies would be negligible. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.

S. 1820 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.