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Cost of Government: Capitol Buildings and Grounds

Dateline: 04/05/00

How much does it cost to run the White House or the Capitol Building where Congress meets? Before you venture a guess, keep in mind that just mowing the lawns and keeping the cherry trees pruned around the Capitol grounds runs a smooth $14,868 per day.

Here, from the several Public Laws making up the federal budget for fiscal year 2000 are some operational costs of government.

The White House (From Public Law No: 106-58)

Operating Expenses

$9,260,000 - "For the care, maintenance, repair and alteration, refurnishing, improvement, heating, and lighting, including electric power and fixtures, of the Executive Residence at the White House and official entertainment expenses of the President." 

Or, about $25,370 a day.

  • "Entertainment expenses" mainly covers dining and entertainment for official guests of the United States.
  • An additional $810,000 is budgeted for repair, and restoration.

Capitol Building and Grounds (From Public Law No: 106-57)

Senate Office Buildings

$64,038,000 - "For all necessary expenses for the maintenance, care and operation of Senate office buildings; and furniture and furnishings to be expended under the control and supervision of the Architect of the Capitol." 

Or about $175,446 per day.

House Office Buildings

$37,279,000 - "For all necessary expenses for the maintenance, care and operation of the House office buildings."

Or, about $102,134 per day.

  • An additional $16,033,000 is budgeted for the mechanical and structural maintenance, care and operation of the Capitol Library buildings and grounds.

Capitol Power Plant

$38,054,000 - "For all necessary expenses for the maintenance, care and operation of the Capitol Power Plant; lighting, heating, power (including the purchase of electrical energy) and water and sewer services for the Capitol, Senate and House office buildings, Library of Congress buildings, and the grounds about the same, Botanic Garden, Senate garage, and air conditioning refrigeration not supplied from plants in any of such buildings; heating the Government Printing Office and Washington City Post Office, and heating and chilled water for air conditioning for the Supreme Court Building, the Union Station complex, the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building and the Folger Shakespeare Library, expenses for which shall be advanced or reimbursed upon request of the Architect of the Capitol and amounts so received shall be deposited into the Treasury to the credit of this appropriation."

Or, about $104,257 per day.

The Capitol Grounds

$5,427,000 - "For all necessary expenses for care and improvement of grounds surrounding the Capitol, the Senate and House office buildings, and the Capitol Power Plant."

Or, about $14,868 per day.

It all adds up to about $422,075 a day to keep the White House and Capitol Buildings and grounds going. And they don't take American Express.

Reference Resources

The United States Capitol
Complete information and tour of the home of Congress from the Architect of the Capitol.

White House History and Tour
A virtual room-by-room tour of the White House.

United States Botanic Garden
The oldest botanic garden in North America. The garden's first greenhouse was constructed in 1842.

Capitol Tours Guide Services
What tours are available and how to arrange for them.

From other About.com Guide Sites

White House NetLinks
For all that money, what other government offices are located in the White House? Politics Guide John Aravosis has links to all of the offices of the president.

White House Visitor's Guide
A tour of the White House presented by About.com's Washington for Visitors Guide Maia Freierson.\

Federal Debt and Spending Net Links
Resources for learning more about how and on what the federal government spends our money from Libertarianism Guide Alexis Nepomuceno.

Election 2000 Resources
Information on candidates, parties, dates, issues and organizations, from your About.com Guide.

Politics? You want Politics?
Guide John Aravosis is and insider who'll deliver all the politics you can handle.

US Government Job Openings
Links to vacancy announcements at dozens of agencies and military branches.

Huge Index of Government Web Sites
One of the largest lists of agencies, bureaus and offices on the Web.

How to... 
...do lots of things involving the U.S. Government. Like, get copies of your old tax returns, or get some money to start a business.

Latest News and Features
The latest news and features on US Government Info/Resources.

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