H.R. 1701 would prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for official painted portraits of any officer or employee of the federal government, including the President, Vice President, Cabinet members, and Members of Congress. The legislation would not apply to the judicial branch.
Appropriation laws have prohibited the use of federal funds for such portraits since fiscal year 2014. CBO is unaware of any comprehensive information on spending for official portraits before 2014, but we expect that most portraits of federal officials are for those in the line of succession to the presidency, members of the legislative branch, and military service personnel. The cost of such portraits appears to be about $25,000 per portrait, based on contract awards for a few federal portraits.
Implementing H.R. 1701 could reduce future discretionary costs because the prohibition on using appropriated funds for such portraits is not in permanent law. However, those effects would be less than $500,000 annually because CBO expects that fewer than 20 portraits would be purchased with federal funds in most years.
Enacting H.R. 1701 could affect direct spending by some 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.
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1701 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
H.R. 1701 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
On March 24, 2017, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 188, the EGO Act, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on March 15, 2017. The two pieces of legislation are similar, and CBO’s estimates of their budgetary effects are the same.