S. 188 prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for the costs of painting portraits of officers and employees of the federal government, including the President, the Vice President, a Member of Congress, the head of an Executive agency, and the head of an office of the Legislative Branch.
In 2013, reports emerged that since 2010, federal agencies had spent more than $400,000 on portraits that are displayed within agency buildings, often in secure locations that are not open to the public. According to such reports, in recent years federal agencies have authorized spending on portraits ranging in cost from $19,000 to $50,000 each. Examples include $38,250 by the Environmental Protection Agency for a portrait of former Administrator Lisa Jackson; $22,500 by the Department of Commerce for a portrait of John Bryson, who served as Secretary for only eight months; $46,790 by the Department of Defense for a portrait of the former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, his second official portrait; and $25,000 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for a portrait of former Administrator Daniel Goldin. A full list is provided on page 3 of Senate Report 115-28.
Appropriation laws have prohibited the use of federal funds for such portraits since fiscal year 2014.