Record Number of Senators Sign LSTA Letter (Thank You!)

Letter from Julie Todaro, ALA President:

Dear Members:

I never cease to be amazed by your passion, your tenacity, and your dedication. You are tremendous! Because of your efforts, I am pleased to report that last night Senator Reed’s staff delivered to the Appropriations Committee the LSTA letter of support with the signatures of 45 Senators along with the IAL letter supported by 37 members! The LSTA total sets a new record and the IAL total equals our previous record set in 2013. Thank you for staying with us every step of the way in this critical fight for funding.

It’s clear from these results and direct feedback from many Senators’ offices that ALA’s advocacy (more than 20,000 emails were sent to the Senate through our Legislative Action Center) led to this unprecedented showing of Senate support for LSTA and IAL, and implicitly IMLS. It could not have happened without the tremendous support of COSLA’s leadership and membership, along with the help of the Corporate Committee for Library Investment (CCLI) companies. This powerful combination of grassroots, grasstops and professional advocacy in both the House and the Senate—mounted and maintained intensively over the past two months—has placed LSTA and IAL in the strongest position possible at this point in the appropriations cycle. While we still have much more to do, these results are worth celebrating!

A few highlights to consider:

  • This year’s LSTA total of 45 tops last year’s support level by 33% and IAL’s by just under 20%.
  • Both the LSTA and IAL letters were bipartisan. You can find out which Senators supported the letters on our online tracker.
  • Every Democrat on the critical “Labor H” appropriations subcommittee signed both letters (Ranking Member Patty Murry of WA, given her position, was not expected to sign.)
  • 10 returning senators signed the LSTA letter who had not signed last year: Feinstein, Bennet, Carper, Nelson, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Udall, Casey, Kaine, and Warner.
  • All 5 freshman Democrats signed the LSTA letter (Harris, Duckworth, Van Hollen, Hassan, and Cortez Masto), and all but Duckworth also signed the IAL letter.
  • Every Democrat not in an “abstaining” leadership position signed the LSTA letter, other than Claire McCaskill of MO (she is supportive, but generally does not sign such letters).
  • 6 returning senators signed the IAL letter who had not signed last year: Coons, Collins, Merkley, Warner, Cantwell, and Manchin.
  • We did lose 2 signers from last year (Burr on LSTA and Wicker on IAL), but both stated that they continue to be supportive.

I want to thank the incredible staff of ALA’s Washington Office, particularly the Office of Government Relations, for their tireless dedication to this process. They, in partnership with their colleagues throughout ALA, helped us meet and exceed expectations as we faced the first few chapters in what’s sure to be an epic quest to protect this absolutely essential funding.

I’ll be in touch soon with everything you need to help us face the next challenge—the upcoming appropriations process. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Thank you,

Julie Todaro

ALA President