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Impounded Library Funds May Be Released

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U.S. Education Department (ed) officials said late last week that they would ask the Office of Management and Budget to begin distributing federal funds for library services and construction if Congress failed to act on President Reagan's request for rescissions in the fiscal 1982 budget by midnight on April 23.

Seven states filed suit on March 5 in U.S. District Court in New York seeking the release of nearly $20 million in federal library-services funds that they claim President Reagan illegally impounded. Reagan Administration officials said they were holding onto the funds pending a decision by Congress to act on the rescission request.

Under the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the President is required to release funds that have been withheld, unless both the Senate and the House enact legislation approving a rescission request within 45 legislative days.

That 45-day deadline was expected to expire without Congressional action last Friday. According to Barry Zambrycki, an official in ed's office for planning and budget, if the deadline passed without any action by Congress, the funds would be released.

Carol C. Henderson, deputy director of the American Library Association's Washington office, said no decision had been made by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Reagan Administration on whether to press their case in court.

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