Late on September 13 the House and Senate Appropriations Committees released a conference committee report on fiscal year 2019 funding for programs under the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee—which controls spending levels for many federal library programs—and the Defense Subcommittee. The news is good: The conference committee has recommended increasing funding levels for many programs. Here are some highlights in the conference bill:
- Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS): $2 million increase
- Title IV-Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act: $70 million increase
- National Library of Medicine: $13 million increase
- Career and technical education state grants: $70 million increase
- Adult education state grants: $25 million increase
- Head Start: $200 million increase
Level funding was provided for the Library Services and Technology Act (the increase for IMLS will be used for research and administrative functions). The Innovative Approaches to Literacy and Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy programs also received level funding.
Finally, in a separate appropriations subcommittee (“minibus”) bill passed this week, funding for the Library of Congress was increased by $26 million, and the Government Publishing Office received level funding.
Considering the FY2019 appropriations process began with a proposal from the White House to eliminate or significantly cut many library programs, this report demonstrates that the tireless work of library advocates across the country has paid off.
The process is not complete, but the path forward is now clear. The full Senate may take up the minibus bill as early as next week, and the House the following week. The final bill will then be sent to the president for his signature, and indications are that he will sign.
We hope that our next #FundLibraries update will be one final call to action: thanking your senators and representatives for supporting libraries.