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Legislative Alert – Urgent Action Needed to Protect Talking Books Program

June 7, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Urgent action is needed to respond to the House's Legislative Branch
Subcommittee's proposed appropriations bill relating to the fiscal year 2008
budget request of the Library of Congress. As you all know the National
Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has been
working on a plan to convert the Talking Books program to a digital format.
The cost of this needed transition from analog cassette to digital
technology is $76.4 million over a four-year period ($19.1 million for each
of the next four years). The House Legislative Branch Subcommittee has only
included $7.5 million for this project in the bill, which passed the
subcommittee yesterday. The subcommittee also voted against an amendment
raised by Congressman Ray LaHood of Illinois that sought to include full
funding for the NLS upgrade. Not only is this amount just a third of what
was requested by the Library of Congress, but the subcommittee further gave
the Librarian of Congress the power to transfer all or part of the funds
from the Books for the Blind program to other upgrades for the Library.
Essentially, if the Librarian of Congress chooses to transfer funds from the
$7.5 million allotted for the digital conversion program, the Talking Books
program will be killed due to a lack of equipment to repair broken tape
players and the simple fact that all aspects of cassette technology will
become obsolete in the next four years.

The Legislative Branch Appropriations bill will now be presented to the full
Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday, July 12. It is imperative that we
flood the offices of Committee members and the office of Subcommittee Chair
Debbie Wasserman Schultz before July 12th to urge them to include the full
funding for the digital upgrade and to protect these funds from being
shifted within the Library of Congress to meet other needs. The Talking
Books program is the largest and most essential available source of
information for blind people as a whole, and we need to protect this
information source with our greatest effort. Included below is a list of
the members on the Appropriations Committee and their office numbers.
Please contact their offices, and let them know how important the Talking
Books program is to the blind. I will update you with further information
on this initiative, but your calls should start immediately.

Thanks in advance for all of your hard work.

Jesse Hartle

Government Program Specialist

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

(410) 659-9314, ext. 2233

jhartle@nfb.org

House Committee on Appropriations

Full Committee – June 7, 2007

FL D, Schultz, Rep Debbie Wasserman, 202-225-7931

(alphabetical by state)

AL D, Cramer, Rep Robert E. Bud, Jr., 202-225-4801

AL R, Aderholt, Rep Robert B., 202-225-4876

AR D, Berry, Rep Marion, 202-225-4076

AZ D, Pastor, Rep Ed, 202-225-4065

CA D, Farr, Rep Sam, 202-225-2861

CA D, Honda, Rep Mike, 202-225-2631

CA D, Lee, Rep Barbara, 202-225-2661

CA D, Roybal-Allard, Rep Lucille, 202-225-1766

CA D, Schiff, Rep Adam, 202-225-4176

CA R, Calvert, Rep Ken, 202-225-1986

CA R, Lewis, Rep Jerry, 202-225-5861

CT D, DeLauro, Rep Rosa L., 202-225-3661

FL D, Boyd, Rep F. Allen, 202-225-5235

FL R, Crenshaw, Rep Ander, 202-225-2501

FL R, Weldon, Rep Dave, 202-225-3671

FL R, Young, Rep C. W. Bill, 202-225-5961

GA D, Bishop, Rep Sanford D., Jr., 202-225-3631

GA R, Kingston, Rep Jack, 202-225-5831

IA R, Latham, Rep Tom, 202-225-5476

ID R, Simpson, Rep Mike, 202-225-5531

IL D, Jackson, Rep Jesse L., Jr., 202-225-0773

IL R, Kirk, Rep Mark Steven, 202-225-4835

IL R, LaHood, Rep Ray, 202-225-6201

IN D, Visclosky, Rep Peter J., 202-225-2461

KS R, Tiahrt, Rep Todd, 202-225-6216

KY D, Chandler, Rep Ben, 202-225-4706

KY R, Rogers, Rep Hal, 202-225-4601

LA R, Alexander, Rep Rodney, 202-225-8490

MA D, Olver, Rep John W., 202-225-5335

MD D, Ruppersberger, Rep C. A. Dutch, 202-225-3061

MI D, Kilpatrick, Rep Carolyn Cheeks, 202-225-2261

MI R, Knollenberg, Rep Joe, 202-225-5802

MN D, McCollum, Rep Betty, 202-225-6631

MO R, Emerson, Rep Jo Ann, 202-225-4404

MS R, Wicker, Rep Roger F., 202-225-4306

MT R, Rehberg, Rep Dennis, 202-225-3211

NC D, Price, Rep David E., 202-225-1784

NJ D, Rothman, Rep Steve, 202-225-5061

NJ R, Frelinghuysen, Rep Rodney P., 202-225-5034

NM D, Udall, Rep Tom, 202-225-6190

NY D, Hinchey, Rep Maurice D., 202-225-6335

NY D, Israel, Rep Steve, 202-225-3335

NY D, Lowey, Rep Nita M., 202-225-6506

NY D, Serrano, Rep Jose E., 202-225-4361

NY R, Walsh, Rep James T., 202-225-3701

OH D, Kaptur, Rep Marcy, 202-225-4146

OH D, Ryan, Rep Tim, 202-225-5261

OH R, Hobson, Rep David L., 202-225-4324

OH R, Regula, Rep Ralph, 202-225-3876

PA D, Fattah, Rep Chaka, 202-225-4001

PA D, Murtha, Rep John P., 202-225-2065

PA R, Peter son, Rep John E., 202-225-5121

RI D, Kennedy, Rep Patrick J., 202-225-4911

TN R, Wamp, Rep Zach, 202-225-3271

TX D, Edwards, Rep Chet, 202-225-6105

TX D, Rodriguez, Rep Ciro D., 202-225-4511

TX R, Carter, Rep John R., 202-225-3864

TX R, Culberson, Rep John, 202-225-2571

TX R, Granger, Rep Kay, 202-225-5071

VA D, Moran, Rep Jim, 202-225-4376

VA R, Goode, Rep Virgil H., Jr., 202-225-4711

VA R, Wolf, Rep Frank R., 202-225-5136

WA D, Dicks, Rep Norm, 202-225-5916

WI D, Obey, Rep David R., Chair, 202-225-3365

WV D, Mollohan, Rep Alan B., 202-225-4172

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