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110th Congress Rept. 110-896
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session Part 1
CHARLES H.W. MEEHAN LAW LIBRARY IMPROVEMENT AND MODERNIZATION ACT
September 27, 2008.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania, from the Committee on House Administration,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 6589]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on House Administration, to whom was referred
the bill (H.R. 6589) to provide financial support for the
operation of the law library of the Library of Congress, and
for other purposes, having considered the same, reports
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that the
bill as amended do pass.
The amendment (stated in terms of the page and line numbers
of the introduced bill) is as follows:
Page 2, line 6, strike ``building, maintaining, and
administering'' and insert ``maintaining and administering''.
PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION
The Charles H.W. Meehan Law Library Improvement and
Modernization Act (H.R. 6589) aims to modernize and maintain
the operations and functions of the Law Library of the Library
The Committee strongly urges the House to pass this bill,
which will provide resources to improve the Law Library (``Law
Library'') of the Library of Congress.
H.R. 6589 authorizes $3,500,000.00 to the Librarian of
Congress to build, maintain and administer the operations of
the Law Library. Any amounts appropriated pursuant to the
bill's authorization will be available without fiscal year
limitation until spent. Further, section 2 of the bill provides
for the cataloging and archiving of nonproprietary material in
the collection of the Law Library.
The bill also provides the Law Library with a line item
appropriation ensuring that all amounts appropriated are
attributed solely to the Law Library. The line item would begin
in 2010 and continue for each succeeding fiscal year.
Section 4 establishes the Charles H.W. Meehan Program. The
program calls for the implementation of enhanced or special
services and programs for the Law Library and otherwise
supports the mission of the Law Library through a public
On July 30th, 2008, the Committee considered H.R. 6589 and,
by voice vote, ordered the bill reported favorably with an
amendment. No recorded votes were taken during consideration of
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR H.R. 6589
The Law Library of the Library of Congress was established
in 1832 to address Congress's need for readily accessible legal
information. Today, the Law Library of the Library of Congress
is the largest legal library in the world, with a collection of
over 3 million volumes that cover almost every jurisdiction
worldwide. While the strides the Law Library has made in its
almost 200 years of existence are remarkable, there is still
much work to be done.
The Law Library is currently in the process of organizing
all materials using the uniform K classification system as most
law libraries use today. At present, with current staffing
levels and appropriated funds, the K Classification will be
complete in approximately 25 years. Passing H.R. 6589 would
complete this essential process sooner.
The Law Library occupies a unique position, not just with
respect to library science or the legal profession, but within
the nation as a whole. H.R. 6589 will provide the Law Library
the resources necessary not just to maintain this distinctive
position but also to offer new and innovative services for
years to come.
The line item appropriation will ensure that all funds for
the Law Library will be received by the Law Library and the
Charles H.W. Meehan Program will ensure the continued
availability of and access to this amazing collection of legal
materials for future generations.
ANALYSIS OF THE BILL (AS REPORTED)
Section 1. Short title (``The Charles H.W. Meehan Law
Library Improvement and Modernization Act''), named in honor of
the first Law Librarian of Congress.
Section 2. Section 2 of the bill provides new financial
support mechanisms for the Law Library. In addition to other
funds available for financial support of the Law Library, the
bill authorizes a onetime appropriation of $ 3,500,000.00 to be
used for maintaining and administering Law Library services.
Upon introduction, the language read ``for building,
maintaining and administering the operation of the Law
Library'', which triggered an additional referral to the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. An amendment
adopted by voice vote during the Committee on House
Administration mark-up on July 30th, 2008 struck the word
``building'' in order to eliminate any confusion.
Further, section 2 of the bill provides for the cataloging
and archiving of nonproprietary material to the extent
practicable in the collection of the Law Library.
Section 3. Section 3 of H.R. 6589 provides for a line item
appropriation for the Law Library. Currently, funding for the
Law Library is drawn from the Library of Congress's general
budget. Section 3 gives the Law Library a separate appropriated
Section 4. Section 4 establishes the Charles H.W. Meehan
Program (``Program''). The Program calls for the implementation
of enhanced or special services and programs for the Law
Library and otherwise supports the mission of the Law Library.
Funding for the Program will come in the form of
appropriations as well as private donations of funds or in-kind
contributions. These contributions will be accepted by the
Library of Congress Trust Fund Board and by the Librarian of
Congress. Any amount accepted in support of the Program by
either the Trust Fund Board or the Librarian of Congress will
be subject to disbursement upon the recommendation of the Law
Librarian. The Librarian of Congress can also accept voluntary
services in support of the Program.
The bill also provides for a separate account in the
Treasury for the Program, which will consist of amounts
accepted by the Trust Fund Board, amounts accepted by the
Librarian of Congress, amounts appropriated and interest on the
balance of the account. Any funds in the account shall be used
solely in support of the Law Library.
No later than April 30th of each year, beginning in 2009,
the Librarian of Congress shall submit a report on the Program
funding and activities to the Committee on House
Administration, the Committee on Rules and Administration in
the Senate, the American Bar Association and the American
Association of Law Libraries. The report shall include:
A listing of all donations received during the
Total obligations during the previous year;
The amount appropriated pursuant to the
authorization under subsection (f) for the fiscal year
beginning on the previous October 1;
A list of Program activities, along with budget
information for each such activity, planned for the calendar
Any finding in the most recently completed audit
with respect to the Law Library or Programs funds or
Finally, the bill authorizes to be appropriated for the
Program an amount equal to 40% of the amount of the donations
accepted by the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board in support
of the Program
MATTERS REQUIRED UNDER THE RULES OF THE HOUSE
Clause 3(d)(1) of House Rule XIII requires each committee
report on a public bill or joint resolution to include a
statement citing the specific constitutional power(s) granted
to the Congress on which the Committee relies for enactment of
the measure under consideration. This bill relies upon the
legislative authority granted to the Congress in Article I,
Section 8, Clause 18 of the Constitution.
Clause 3(b) of House Rule XIII requires the results of each
recorded vote on an amendment or motion to report, together
with the names of those voting for and against, to be printed
in the committee report. No recorded votes were taken during
the Committee's consideration of H.R. 6589.
CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ESTIMATE
Clause 3(c)(3) of House Rules XIII requires the report of a
committee on a measure which has been approved by the committee
to include a cost estimate prepared by the Director of the
Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act (``CBA''), if timely submitted. The
Director submitted the following estimate:
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, September 12, 2008.
Hon. Robert A. Brady,
Chairman, Committee on House Administration,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 6589, the Charles
H.W. Meehan Law Library Improvement and Modernization Act.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Christina
Robert A. Sunshine
(For Peter R. Orszag, Director).
H.R. 6589--Charles H.W. Meehan Law Library Improvement and
H.R. 6589 would authorize the appropriation of $3.5 million
for the law library of the Library of Congress, and would
establish a Charles H.W. Meehan program to support the mission
of the law library. The library could receive donations of
funds and in-kind support, and could spend those funds (and the
interest earned on them) without future appropriation. In
addition, the bill would authorize appropriations equal to 40
percent of the donations received for support of the law
Based on the nature of previous donations in support of the
law library and historical spending patterns, and assuming
appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO estimates that
implementing H.R. 6589 would cost $3.5 million over the 2009-
Because H.R. 6589 would allow the Librarian to accept and
spend donations for projects, enacting H.R. 6589 could affect
direct spending and receipts, but the spending and the receipts
would offset each other. In addition, the bill would allow the
Librarian to spend any interest earned on the donations. CBO
expects that such spending would be negligible. Thus, CBO
estimates that changes in direct spending and receipts from
enacting the bill would not have a significant net effect on
the federal budget.
H.R. 6589 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Christina Hawley
Anthony. This estimate was approved by Keith Fontenot, Deputy
Assistant Director for Health and Human Resources, Budget
Section 423 of the CBA requires a committee report on any
public bill or joint resolution that includes a federal mandate
to include specific information about such mandates. The
Committee states that H.R. 6589 includes no federal mandates.
Section 423 of the CBA requires a committee report on any
public bill or joint resolution to include a committee
statement on the extent to which the measure is intended to
preempt state or local law. The Committee states that H.R. 6589
is not intended to preempt any state or local law.
Clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII requires each committee report
to contain oversight findings and recommendations required
pursuant to clause 2(b)(1) of House Rule X. The Committee has
general oversight responsibility for the Library of Congress.
The Committee conducted a hearing on October 24th 2007 and
reviewed the status of the Law Library of the Library of
Congress and its need for additional resources. Therefore, the
Committee finds that a line item would best enhance the Law
Library's ability to meet its financial obligations.
STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Clause 3(c)(4) of House Rule XIII requires committee
reports to include a statement of general performance goals and
objectives. The performance goals and objectives for this bill
are described in the Bill Summary above.
Clause 9 of House Rule XXI requires committee reports on
public bills and resolutions to contain an identification of
congressional ``earmarks,'' limited tax benefits, limited
tariff benefits, and the names of requesting Members. The bill
contains no such items either as introduced or as reported to
CONGRESSIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY ACT APPLICABILITY
Section 102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act
of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-1) (CAA) requires each report on a public
bill or joint resolution relating to terms and conditions of
employment or access to public services or accommodations to
describe the manner in which the legislation applies to the
Legislative Branch. The bill contains no such items either as
introduced or as reported to the House.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED
As required by clause 3(e) of House Rule XIII, H.R. 6589
makes no changes to existing law.