Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Legislative Alert - Latest News on the Books for the Blind Program

-----Original Message-----
From: Hartle, Jesse [mailto:JHartle@NFB.ORG]
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 2:44 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Legislative Alert - Latest News on the Books for the Blind Program

Greetings, Fellow Federationists:

I am writing to advise you of the latest developments regarding the Talking Book program of the Library of Congress. We have learned that the full House of Representatives passed the Legislative Branch appropriations bill with $12.5 million to fund the transition from cassette books to digital Talking Books for fiscal year 2008. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the same amount. I want to thank each and every one of you for your hard work to see that the funding for this critically important project was increased in the House bill. It is only due to the efforts of all of you that the funding for the Talking Book program was substantially increased, and you deserve all the credit for this victory. While the Talking Book program still did not receive the full $19.1 million requested by the Library of Congress, the $12.5 million appropriated is significantly better than the $7.5 million originally put into the bill and represents a victory for blind Americans.

At this point, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee that handled the Library of Congress request, has indicated that she will attempt to find the additional $6.6 million that would make up the difference between the amount currently approved and the full fiscal year 2008 request of the Library of Congress. If Senator Landrieu is able to identify funding for the Talking Book program, she is willing to introduce an amendment when the appropriations bill is considered on the floor of the Senate in order to provide the full $19.1 million appropriation requested. I am asking you to do two things: First, call Senator Landrieu’s office and thank her for continuing to work to find funding for the Talking Books program, and at the same time continue to let her office know how important the program is to the Blind. Secondly, you should call your own senators and ask them to support a floor amendment to increase funding for the Talking Book program if Senator Landrieu introduces such an amendment.

You may reach Senator Landrieu’s office and the offices of the senators representing your state by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

Thanks again for your great work thus far and for your continued assistance to ensure that this critically important program is fully funded.

Jesse Hartle
National Federation of the Blind
Government Programs Specialist
Phone: 410-659-9314 Ext. 2233
Email: jhartle@nfb.org