The House of Representatives H.R. 1586, a $26 billion state aid package designed to prevent layoffs of educators and other state and local government employees appears to be a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. In this case, the House is robbing some money from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).
While the law will save about 160,000 education and library jobs, it required the House to cut about $300 million from the BTOP. What's ironic about the cuts is that in addition to giving providing financial assistance to local service providers to build out last mile broadband networks, the $4.7 billion BTOP program also targets middle mile network providers that deliver bandwidth to enable libraries to provide public computing centers (PCCs).
Emily Sheketoff, director of the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office, said said in a statement that while new law shows that Congress is seeing how important the role of libraries are in a child's education, "the funding rescinded from the BTOP program is disappointing, as recent economic events have shown how critical funding from the stimulus program has supplied many communities with more up-to-date technology."
Previously, the House of Representatives proposed cutting $600 million from the BTOP program to pay for expenses related to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
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