In a federal fiscal year that began without nine of the 11 appropriations bills passed, there is legislation pending in the Senate that would ax funding for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program for the remainder of the fiscal year. Given the current political tone in Washington, one can only guess that someone thought the NDIIPP was part of an earmark. Either that or someone with a bee in their bonnet for the NDIIP is using this moment in time to exact revenge on the program. Either way, this is one moment in time that I'm spurred to join the national debate on legislation before our Congress. (Looking at the site statistics for DLTJ.org I know a number of readers are outside the United States. I hope you'll indulge me or a moment.)
The source of the issue is House Joint Resolution 20, Continuing Appropriations resolution FY2007. It has been ages since I've done a legislative history (I hope Virginia Wise, my Simmons MSLIS instructor and lecturer at the Harvard Law Library, will be proud) but the Library of Congress' THOMAS service is a good guide to what is happening (is that irony I hear?). At I post this, the resolution has been passed by the House and is on the floor of the Senate. And there isn't much time to influence the outcome -- according to the :
Ordered, That with respect to H.J. Res 20, an Act making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2007, and for other purposes, Senators have until 2:30 p.m. on Monday, February 12, 2007 to file first degree amendments.
In addition, a cloture motion has been filed that will likely limit the possibility of a filibuster on this bill. (And for good reason, too — the existing continuing resolution that is funding most of the U.S. federal government at the same funding levels as last year runs out on Thursday).
Relevant text of H. J. Res. 20
It isn't possible with the THOMAS website to link to a section of a bill, so the best I can do is provide this link to the table of contents of H. J. Res. 20 and ask you to follow the link to Chapter 7 of the bill and then scroll about halfway down the page. Here is the text of the relevant part:
TITLE II--ELIMINATION OF EARMARKS, ADJUSTMENTS IN FUNDING, AND OTHER PROVISIONS
CHAPTER 7--LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
(3) Of the unobligated balances available under the heading `Library of Congress, Salaries and Expenses', the following amounts are rescinded:
(A) Of the unobligated balances available for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, $47,000,000.
(B) Of the unobligated balances available for furniture and furnishings, $695,394.
(C) Of the unobligated balances available for the acquisition and partial support for implementation of an Integrated Library System, $1,853,611.
As Karen Schneider noted, this would appear to effectively zero out the NDIIPP for the remainder of the year.
Contacting your Congressperson
There may be little that can be done (with the focus now on the President's proposed budget for the next fiscal year) and little time in which to attempt it (given that it seems like amendments must be proposed by 2:30pm EST Monday), but for myself I feel it is worth a shot. If you are stirred to action as well, I encourage you to contact your Senators immediately. I intend to do so via e-mail or web form, and will post the text of my letter to this blog as well. If you should choose to contact your elected officials, take some time to look at various bits of advice on how to go about doing it.
The text was modified to update a link from http://freerangelibrarian.com/2007/02/your_gummint_nixes_digital_pre.php to http://freerangelibrarian.com/2007/02/10/your-gummint-nixes-digital-preservation/ on January 19th, 2011.
The text was modified to update a link from http://www.ala.org/ala/issues/toolsandpub/actionkit/legislators.htm to http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/workingwithgovernmen/state_federal.cfm on January 19th, 2011.
The text was modified to update a link from http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/workingwithgovernmen/state_federal.cfm to http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/workingwithgovernmen/state_federal on November 21st, 2012.
The text was modified to update a link from http://www.eff.org/congress/#dosdonts to http://w2.eff.org/congress/#dosdonts on August 22nd, 2013.