By GUY LAMOLINARA
The House and Senate on Aug. 6 passed the fiscal year 1994 appropriation for the legislative branch, including the Library of Congress. The net appropriation for LC of $307,531,000 is $54,595 lower than the Senate had proposed in its version of the bill, and $588,000 more than the bill approved by the House. The bill also grants authority to spend receipts of $24,333,000, for a total budget of of $331,864,000.
The final appropriation is the result of a House-Senate conference committee, which agreed to a compromise on H.R. 2348 on Aug. 2. President Clinton signed the bill Aug. 11.
"Even though the Library's budget was cut $2.6 million, we did relatively well when compared to other legislative branch agencies," said John D. Webster, the Library's financial services director. The appropriation is .83 percent less than the FY 1993 net appropriation of $310,099,000. Other legislative branch agencies took a slightly bigger hit.
The bill represents a cut of some $14.3 million in purchasing power. The $54,595 difference in the net appropriation of the Senate version results from the conference committee's eliminating funding for the position of administrative assistant to the Librarian of Congress Emeritus. The committee reminded the Library that Public Law 100-83 provided that "the Librarian Emeritus 'may receive incidental and clerical support through the Library of Congress.' "
The conferees also approved a final year of funding for the American Memory Pilot Program. The amount, $1,019,000, is $405 more than provided in the Senate version. The Senate had voted to restore funding for an additional year after the House voted to terminate the program.
After fiscal 1994, the conference report indicated that "the American Memory staff who are performing cataloging functions should be reassigned to the overall arrearage project, where their expertise is needed, and where vacant and funded positions are available." There are eight such positions.
American Memory is a pilot project that puts some of the Library's collections on CD-ROM. Text and images area vailable of such collections as "Early Sound Recordings of America's Leaders" and "Civil War Photographs, 1861-65." The project is being tested at 44 sites around the country.
The report goes on to say that "it is expected that the American Memory technology will be made available to the educational community for further exploitation, perhaps by the private sector or in whatever fashion it may be put to beneficial use, but that the Library of Congress will not extend its role in the creation or assembly of educational material beyond making the collection available for use by such technology users as they are generally to the American public and other users of the Library's extensive collections."
Dr. Billington said that "the Library believes that American Memory should be distributed by the private sector. We also believe that making these primary source materials on the nation's history and culture available to the American people through electronic technology is a service in keeping with the Congress's long tradition of sharing its Library with the nation."
The conference bill also retains the Senate's appropriation for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of $42,713,000, or $431,000 less than the House approved in its version.
In other key provisions of the bill, the conferees, headed by Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.):
Agreed to exclude those positions supported by gift and trust funds from the 4 percent reduction in staff mandated by Section 307. The 4 percent cut must be completed by Sept. 30, 1995, with at least 62.5 percent of the reduction being achieved by Sept. 30, 1994. In other words, a 2.5 percent cut in staff must be made by Sept. 30, 1994, and 1.5 percent must be cut by Sept. 30, 1995.
A key word, however, has been stricken from Section 307 in the Senate version. The Senate had agreed to allow the Library and other legislative branch agencies to base the mandated 4 percent staff cut on the number of funded full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. The conference version omits the word "funded." It does, however, allow a delay in determining the effective date of the FTE ceiling. With approval of the House and Senate Appropriations committees, a date later than Sept. 30, 1992, may be used.
Mr. Webster noted that a later date would be more beneficial to the Library but the specific date that will be justified has yet to be decided.
Because the Library has filled so few permanent FUNDED positions since May 1992, the omission of the word "funded" may affect the number of positions eventually cut.
The bill also requires that "at least" 10 percent of the positions eliminated be from grades GS-14 and higher.
Nor does the bill provide any additional funding for a proposed 2.2 percent cost-of-living raise, due Jan. 1 under current law, or for locality pay increases, also due to kick in Jan. 1. (The Washington Post has predicted that locality raises will be about 4 percent, but this amount has yet to be officially determined.) President Clinton has requested that Congress delay both raises until 1995. The Post believes the locality raises are "safe," but that Congress will go along with the president and delay the annual raise for six months to a year. The Post further reported Aug. 9 that the prospect of layoffs and furloughs will force a delay in at least one of the raises.
"Given the choice," according to Washington Post columnist Mike Causey, "assuming the numbers are accurate, odds are Congress will put the 2.2 percent adjustment on hold."
"We did not receive any money for these raises," said Mr. Webster. "But we're no different from any other agency. If the raises go through, we will really be in trouble."
Agreed to restore Section 206, which had been stricken by the Senate, and amended it to read as follows: "Effective for fiscal years beginning with fiscal year 1995, obligations for reimbursable and revolving fund activities performed by the Library of Congress are limited to the total amounts provided (1) in the annual regular appropriations Act making appropriations for the legislative branch, or (2) in a supplemental appropriations Act that makes appropriations for the legislative branch."
This provision means that, beginning in FY 1995, LC may not obligate revolving funds from such activities as Photoduplication Services and the gift shop, and reimbursable fund activities, such as those provided by the Federal Research Division and FEDLINK, beyond the amount authorized by the bill.
Agreed to approve the establishment of the Great Basin Intergovernmental Center at the University of Nevada at Reno. The center is "designed to improve the interface" between the federal government and nonfederal entities in the Great Basin States. The committee directs the Librarian to forward a copy of the agreement to the Appropriations Committees.
Agreed to allow the Library (as well as the General Accounting Office and the Government Printing Office) to offer "separation" retirement or resignation incentives to aid in cutting staff.
"Encourage[d] the Librarian of Congress to reopen discussions" with the Gettysburg National Military Park for the purpose of extending the loan of the Library's first draft of the Gettysburg Address "for an indefinite period." The manuscript has been on loan to the park since 1979, where it is displayed for about three months during each summer. LC also has the second draft of the address.
Agreed, out of funds for the Architect of the Capitol, to:
(1) spend $7,281,000 for replacement of the Jefferson Building roof and
(2) spend $150,000 to improve Madison Building security systems, but did not approve $281,000 to "connect and replace electromechanical control system with a Hill- wide EMCS," or book conveyor system.