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Reading the Tea Leaves During the 111th Congress “Lame Duck” Session

We’ve been getting many questions about “what will be happening in the lame duck session?”  The short answer is:   it could be the “best of times or the worst of times…”  Like other groups there are some key issues that we wish would be passed in December when the 111th Congress convenes.   However, Congress must deal with thorny appropriations issues.  A continuing resolution or an actual budget for FY 2011 must be passed – and the scenario on this and other issues is unclear.  The limited time they have to meet in December will mean that the congressional agenda will be very limited.

Many observers think there will be some post-election craziness as the House starts to align itself for a new Republican majority in the 112th Congress that starts in January.  ALA has been pushing for a vote on the reauthorization of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as well as a vote in the Senate to confirm President Obama’s nominee for the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) – Susan Hildreth.  ALA has also worked on various school library issues including the LEARN Act and including school library provisions in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA.)

Additionally, Rep. Hoekstra (MI-R) has introduced a bill that would extend the sunsets for 3 USA PATRIOT Act provisions, including Section 215 on business records (often referred to as the “library provision”) from February 28, 2011, to February 29, 2012.

On these and other issues stay tuned on District Dispatch and ALA Connect for updates as the “holiday” season moves along.  Sorry we can’t be more specific – we’re in a congressional season that requires a high tolerance for ambiguity.

Lynne Bradley, Director

ALA Office of Government Relations – Washington, D.C.

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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