On May 3, 2002 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memorandum to executive agencies stating that agencies should no longer be required to use the Government Printing Office (GPO) for their printing and procurement needs as currently required under section 501 of Title 44 of the United States Code. The OMB memorandum proposes that the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) - the rules under which executive branch agencies procure goods and services - be revised. This would follow a period of public notice and comment, with the intent that the new policy would be effective on or before September 1, 2002.
Similar proposals were attempted by the Reagan Administration in 1987 and, more recently, under the reinventing government initiative of the Clinton Administration. The library community strongly opposes the decentralization contemplated by the OMB proposal because it would sever the important link between the procurement of agency publications through the GPO and the distribution of titles that by law are to be made available to the public through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Experience demonstrates that the result of decentralization will be a massive increase in the number of fugitive documents.
Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN), chair of the Joint Committee on Printing, has scheduled a hearing on the memorandum to be held on June 18th. The witnesses will include representatives from OMB, GPO, the library community and the printing industry. This is also an important issue for the appropriations process now underway. The Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee plans to mark up the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for FY 2003 shortly after the JCP hearing.
We have made great efforts here in Washington to visit staff of the members of the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP), as well as of the Senate and House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittees. However, it is very important that the members of the JCP and the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittees hear about the importance and urgency of this issue directly from their constituents.
Listed at the end of this message are members of the JCP, and the House and Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittees.
IF YOUR HOUSE AND SENATE REPRESENTATIVES ARE LISTED below as members of any of these three committees, please contact them immediately by phone or fax them a short letter, using the talking points below.
In addition, if your representative is a member of the JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING, urge him/her to attend the hearing on June 18th and to speak out strongly against the OMB proposal because it will destroy the Federal Depository Library Program and erode public access to federal government information.
If your representative is a member of the HOUSE OR SENATE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE, urge him/her to fully support the Public Printer's FY 2003 request of $34.1 million for the Salaries and Expenses (S&E) Appropriation of the Superintendent of Documents. This includes $27.3 million to fund the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and $4.0 million for the Cataloging and Indexing Program.
IF YOUR HOUSE AND SENATE REPRESENTATIVES ARE NOT LISTED below as members of these three committees, please contact them immediately by phone or fax them a short letter, based on the talking points below, with the following messages:
- express your opposition to the OMB Memorandum because it will sever the transparent link between procurement and public access through the FDLP;
- urge them to support full FY 2003 funding for GPO and the FDLP;
- and, very importantly, please ask them to contact the leadership of the committees listed below to express your position.
- 1) REGARDING THE PROCUREMENT ISSUES:
• CONTRARY TO OMB'S ASSERTIONS, GPO IS NOT A "MONOPOLY."
- (a) Less than half of all federal printing is procured through GPO.
(b) A number of executive agencies have in-house printing and photo-duplicating facilities and solicit print work from other federal agencies.
(c) Some agencies already contract directly with the private sector for printing (despite the requirements of Title 44).
- • GPO'S CENTRALIZED PRINT PROCUREMENT IS A PUBLIC ASSET.
- (a) GPO's centralized print purchasing program achieves substantial savings for taxpayers since Congress appropriates no funds to GPO to support its printing procurement program.
(b) A 1998 management audit by Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Inc., an independent consulting firm working under contract to the General Accounting Office at the direction of Congress, found "universal support" in the executive branch for the GPO's services.
- • GPO'S PROCUREMENT PROCESS IS COST-EFFICIENT.
- (a) Studies have indicated that decentralizing authority for printing among executive branch agencies could lead to significant cost increases in government printing for agencies.
(b) Removing executive branch work from GPO could double the cost of congressional printing and binding.
- 2) REGARDING THE PUBLIC ACCESS ISSUES:
•THE FDLP EFFECTIVELY PROVIDES LOCAL ACCESS TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INFORMATION.
- (a) Approximately 1,300 depository libraries - located in virtually every congressional district - provide citizens with direct, local access and assistance to federal government information.
(b) The FDLP is an efficient and effective partnership program between Congress, agencies, and the American public. For every one dollar the federal government spends, local libraries spend an average of $3 to support local FDLP collections and to help the public use this material.
(c) For over 150 years, the FDLP has made government information in all formats permanently accessible to the public at no fee through depository libraries.
- • THE OMB PROPOSAL WILL REDUCE PUBLIC ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION.
- (a) Tangible publications (e.g., print, microfiche, CD-ROMs) produced by executive agencies outside of the GPO most often become "fugitive" documents. Even though these publications are paid for by tax dollars, they are not distributed to depository libraries, nor are single copies provided to GPO for cataloging and indexing.
(b) A key factor in the FDLP's success is that it is transparent to the agencies. As agencies requisition printing jobs, GPO is positioned to capture the necessary information to order additional copies for depository libraries - making them physically available at local libraries - and to catalog the publications, which makes their existence and availability known to everyone. The OMB proposal would sever the important, transparent link between the procurement of agency publications and the distribution of titles.
(c) While the government has embraced the Internet as a means to disseminate more electronic environment, print and other tangible publications still play a vital role in informing the public. In FY 2001, GPO distributed 5.9 million tangible copies of 14,700 titles to depository libraries.
Mary Alice Baish
Associate Washington Affairs Representative
American Association of Law Libraries
MEMBERS OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING:
Senate Members: Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN), Chair 202-224-3244
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 202-224-3841
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) 202-224-3934
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) 202-224-5054
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) 202-224-6324
House Members: Rep. Bob Ney (R-18-OH), Vice Chair 202-225-6265
Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-4-CA) 202-225-2511
Rep. John Linder (R-11-GA) 202-225-4272
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-5-MD) 202-225-4131
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-2-PA) 202-225-4001
MEMBERS OF THE SENATE APPROPRIATIONS LEGISLATIVE BRANCH SUBCOMMITTEE:
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chairman 202-224-2152
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) 202-224-5842
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) 202-224-4642
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT), Ranking 202-224-5444
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) 202-224-3004
MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE:
Rep. Charles Taylot (R- -NC), Chairman
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-3-TN) 202-225-3271
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-40-CA) 202-225-5861
Rep. Ray LaHood (R-18-IL) 202-225-6201
Rep. Don Sherwood (R-10-PA) 202-225-3731
Rep. James Moran (D-8-VA), Ranking 202-225-4376
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-5-MD) 202-225-4131
Rep. Marcy Kapur (D-9-OH) 202-225-4146