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Panel Rebuffs Reagan on Library Plan : Lawmakers Refuse to Exempt Facility From Design Rules

April 02, 1985|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The House Government Operations Committee, in a rebuff to President Reagan by both Democrats and Republicans, refused today to exempt the proposed Reagan library from a requirement that all future presidential libraries meet government standards.

The committee approved by unanimous voice vote a bill to control the design of such libraries and require the organizations that build them to set up endowments to help pay for their upkeep.

But like a similar measure that passed the House but was not taken up by the Senate last year, the bill exempts the Reagan library, at White House request, from the endowment requirement.

Stanford University Plan

Rep. Glenn English (D-Okla.), the bill's sponsor, urged Reagan last month to allow the cost-sharing endowment provision to apply also to his proposed library on the Stanford University campus.

But budget director David A. Stockman said in a letter to committee Chairman Jack Brooks (D-Tex.) that the Administration wants the Reagan library exempted from the archival standards requirement as well as the endowment plan.

English expressed dismay at that letter, saying, "Not only does Stockman want the taxpayer to bear the entire cost of operating the Reagan library, now he wants the option of sticking us with an inefficient and uneconomical building."

Rep. Thomas N. Kindness of Ohio, the senior Republican on the information subcommittee chaired by English, said he found Stockman's last-minute suggestion "surprising, if not offensive."

No Amendment

The committee approved the bill without the amendment sought by the Administration.

English also said he was disappointed that the Administration wanted the Reagan library excluded from the endowment requirement.

"The President is asking almost everyone to cinch his belt up another notch or two in the interest of reducing budget deficits over the next few years," he said. "Yet the President's staff acts just like most special interest groups--they all seem to favor spending cuts, except when it comes to them."

Noting press reports that the cost of the Reagan library is estimated at $45 million, English said an endowment equal to 20% of the cost, as specified in the bill, would yield $900,000 a year if invested at 10% interest.

"With no endowment, there is no $900,000 in earnings," he said. "So, we'll just have to go out and appropriate that $900,000 year in and year out--forever."

It costs about $1.5 million a year to staff and maintain each of the seven existing presidential libraries, English said.

The endowment requirement would not apply to those libraries or the planned libraries of Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Jimmy Carter.

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