September 22, 2017

What’s Next for Federal Funding | Federal Advocacy

With FY17 and FY18 and presidential and congressional budgets all jumbled together in the news cycle, it can be tough to keep track of what’s still on the table and when it needs attention. At right is a time line of what to expect in the fight for federal funding for libraries. While it’s accurate as of press time, the situation has been changing rapidly, so sign up for the American Library Association’s Washington Office District Dispatch e-newsletter to get the most recent updates.


July 13, 2017

IMLS “Level Funded” at $231 million for FY18 by the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. This committee is a key player in setting the budget and appropriations/spending plan for the federal government. It sets budget priorities, which are then voted on by the larger Appropriations Committee before going to the floor of the House of Representatives. After it is approved, the Senate will work on its appropriations bills.

July 19, 2017

House Appropriations Committee markup and vote to approve bill containing IMLS funding, 28–22.

August

House finishes markups and passes all 12 individual spending bills. Once the bill containing IMLS passes the House (as well as one or two others that include library funding components), our focus will shift entirely to the Senate.

GOP leaders in the House are discussing two possible scenarios, eventually passing 12 individual appropriations bills such as the one that contains IMLS or multiple “minibus” packages clustering several bills as they are ready, such as defense spending, veterans affairs, and military construction.

Congress goes on recess (which will be abbreviated—just how abbreviated remains to be seen). Elected officials will be back in the districts. Make contact and connect through constituent meetings and planned “chance” encounters. You may see them walking in parades, doing pancake breakfasts, that kind of thing. Have a 30-second pitch ready about the importance of IMLS. And although the federal fiscal year will have turned over by then, the same is true of Columbus Day, Thanksgiving,and the holiday season.

September 30, 2017

Federal money runs out. Potential government shutdown on October 1 if spending bills are not in place and reconciled.

September 30 – December 31, 2017

Amendments and markups possible throughout this process. It is possible that members will “borrow” against library funds appropriated to fill budget holes or fund other priorities. Urge your members of Congress to preserve IMLS funding and to hold the line for us as the budget and appropriations bills are finalized.

The Budget Control Act (BCA), instituted to reconcile the debt-ceiling crisis of 2011, puts into place required funding for aspects of the federal government. There is still the possibility of cascading cuts as items are eliminated to fulfill mandated spending. The House can work around this, but a spending bill that violates the BCA, expands defense spending, and makes deep cuts to nondefense spending would have a tough time getting out of the House and would be impossible to pass by 60 votes in the Senate.

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This article was published in Library Journal's August 1, 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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