House Passes American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus Bill)

The House of Representatives today passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with a final vote of 246-183, with members voting largely along party lines. No Republicans voted for the legislation and seven Democrats opposed it. The Senate is currently debating the bill and is expected to vote tonight before adjourning for the President’s Day recess. President Obama is expected to sign the bill next week.

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Second Plea: call your congressmen

The next 36 to 48 hours is critical to get millions, maybe billions, of dollars for libraries in the stimulus package.  We need every single library supporter to start sending messages and calling congressional offices so that we can keep important library provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  As you all know, libraries are a key source of free Internet access to look for jobs and so much more.  Our libraries provide essential services that stimulate our local economies, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 20009 provides crucial funding for libraries to continue and build upon them.  This week, the Senate and House versions of the economic stimulus package will go to conference to reconcile these pieces of legislation, and your calls and e-mails will help protect this funding.  There are pros and cons of each version of the stimulus, and we need to protect the parts that benefit our communities.

 

Last week, Senate Amendment 501 could have stripped broadband funding from their version of the bill but your calls and e-mails to your elected officials defeated this amendment and successfully protected this funding.  Now, more than ever, your activism is needed.  Over 1,250 calls went to our elected officials, and now we need even more.

 

Please call your elected officials and tell them to communicate with the conferees in support of the following parts in both the House and the Senate versions:

 

  • Restore education construction funds eliminated from the Senate version of the ARRA. The House version of the ARRA would provide $14 billion for K-12 construction and $6 billion for higher education construction and specifically mention libraries as an allowable use of funds.  The K-12 construction funds would create 300,000 jobs.
  • Restore the money cut from the State Stabilization Fund in the Senate bill to $79 billion to and restore the Governors ability to use a portion of the funds at his or her discretion.
  • Maintain $8 billion for ‘Broadband Technology Opportunities Program’ for robust broadband to all of America including “fiber to the libraries for the 21st century.”
  • No less than $200 million that shall be available for competitive grants for expanding public computer center capacity, including community colleges and public libraries.
  • Open access of networks should be upheld and not include provisions allowing intrusive network management techniques. 

Again, the only way our grassroots effort will be successful is with your calls and e-mails.  Your efforts have resulted in a stay of implementation on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and a defeat of the amendment that would have cut broadband funding from the Senate version of the economic stimulus act.  This is our most important ask yet; without your calls, libraries will be left out of this legislation.

 

Call Your Senators NOW to Save $200 Million For Libraries

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED – CALL NOW TO SAVE $200 MILLION FOR Amendment to cut libraries out of broadband package in Senate stimulus bill

Take Action!

Calls to ALL Senators are needed IMMEDIATELY to protect $200 million for libraries, community computing centers and related institutions in the original language of the Senate stimulus bill, H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. We have just been advised that Senators Kent Conrad (ND-D) and Lindsey Graham (SC-R) are expected to introduce Senate Amendment 501 which would strip funding for libraries and broadband to put additional funding in FDIC. If introduced, the vote could take place this afternoon.

The message is: keep the $200 million for libraries and broadband in H.R. 1 – defeat amendment 501. Libraries provide information on jobs, employment skills, and all other types of job-seeking information. More people are using libraries during these difficult times and the demand for broadband is greater than ever.

Senator Patrick Leahy – http://leahy.senate.gov/

Senator Bernie Sanders – http://sanders.senate.gov/

POSTPONED: Advocacy Committee Meeting

Hi All,

Due to unexpected scheduling conflicts for many of the members, we’ve decided to postpone our meeting. If you are interested in attending the next meeting, please let me know and we can work with you on best scheduling times.

Helen Linda
celestihel [at] gmail [dot] com

VLA Advocacy Committee Meeting – All Are Welcome!

The VLA Advocacy Committee will be meeting at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington on Friday, February 15th at noon. The agenda so far is:

  • Revisit our mission, goals and role in the VLA.
  • Plan the “What is a Lobbyist?” event for the VLA Conference.
  • Brainstorm new projects to work on, such as statewide broadband service.

We are a relatively new addition to the VLA and still growing, so please join us as we embark on exciting new projects and shape our committee to best serve the VLA and our collective communities. If you can join us, please let me know. If you can’t join us but wish you could, let me know that, too, as well as best days/times/locations for next time. We can’t accommodate everyone, but we can try!

See you on the 15th!

Helen Linda

celestihel [at] gmail [dot] com

Legislative Day for Vermont’s Public Libraries

Legislative Day for Vermont’s Public Libraries
Friday January 18, 2008, 8:30 am – 11:30 am
Statehouse in Montpelier

Come to the Statehouse on January 18th for an important kick-off to our state funding initiative! We will meet in the Card Room, on the second floor. (The Card “Room” is really the hallway before you enter the cafeteria.)

Arrange to meet with your lawmakers and ask them to support state funding for public libraries and the statute that enhances library patron confidentiality. The best way to do this is to contact your lawmakers in advance and set up a time to meet them in the cafeteria. Read More