Today, over a dozen amendments were offered during debate on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expects debate to continue well into the night. Senate Democratic leaders don’t have the votes to pass the bill as currently written and will attempt to cut the cost of the $895.2 billion bill to gain additional votes. The cost of the House-passed version of the bill is $819.5 billion.
Both the House and the Senate versions of the ARRA contain funding for K-12 modernization, renovation, and repair. The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities program (SEC. 9301) of the House bill specifically mentions school libraries as an allowable use of funds.
While the Senate bill doesn’t prohibit spending funds on school library modernization, renovation and repair, it doesn’t specifically mention school libraries as a permissible use of funds. On Tuesday, President Obama sent a letter to the Senate leadership that reiterated his expectation that the recovery package will “renovate and modernize 10,000 schools so our children have libraries…” ALA has proposed adding libraries as a permissible use of funds in the Senate version.
The environment remains unpredictable, so watch for more updates as the debate moves forward.
You can read President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget letter here.
Kristin Murphy, Government Relations Specialist
ALA Washington Office