The Senate Appropriations Committee today delivered good news for libraries by increasing funding for LSTA Grants to States and National Leadership Grants to Libraries, while also providing level funding for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved the bill just two days ago with no amendments or controversial policy riders.
The Grants to States program, which the President’s budget proposed cutting by $950,000, will instead be increased in the Senate bill by $314,000, raising its total funding to $156.1 million for FY2017. That reflects an increase of over $1.25 million from the President’s request. National Leadership Grants will also receive a $314,000 increase, bringing its total to $13.4 million. Overall, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will receive a $1 million increase to $231 million for FY2017.
Innovative Approaches to Literacy, just authorized in last year’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), will receive level funding in the Senate bill of $27 million for FY2017. One half of IAL funding is reserved for school library grants with the remaining reserved for non-profits.
ALA acknowledges the leadership of Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and the deep commitment to library funding of many other key Senators, including Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS), Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO), Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). ALA members from Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Rhode Island, Washington are urged to send messages of thanks to these Senate offices.
The House Appropriations Committee has not yet announced a timetable for moving its Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies FY2017 funding bill. Despite the “no drama” Senate Subcommittee’s markup earlier this week, the overall Appropriations outlook remains very much in doubt. Few Washington insiders are expecting all 12 appropriations bills to pass the House and Senate. Rather, many are expecting one or more “Continuing Resolutions” to keep the government open beyond the October 1 start of the Fiscal Year. A messy “omnibus” spending package providing funding for numerous agencies also is expected to be considered later this year. A government shutdown, however, is not anticipated.