Contact Your Representative about Overriding the Presidential Veto of the Labor-HHS Bill

Use the ALA Action Alert to send a message to your Representative about overriding the presidential veto of the FY 2008 Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which includes the NIH Public Access Policy mandate and essential funding for library programs.

As an "Issue Area" in the form, you might use "Budget." Be sure to fill in your salutation and phone number; they are required to send an e-mail even though the form does not show them as required fields.

Cut and paste the below talking points text into the "Editable text to" section of the form as the message or write your own. If you use the below text, I'd suggest that you preface it with a short personalized message, such as: "I've been a resident of your district for [?] years, and, as a [?], I'm very concerned about the following issue." This will increase the impact of your message with Congressional staff.

I strongly urge you to vote to override President Bush's
veto of the (FY) 2008 Health and Human Services, Education,
and Related Agencies appropriations
(Labor-HHS) appropriations bill.

I would call your attention to two important aspects of this
critical bill.

First, it contains language directing the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) to change its Public Access
Policy so that it requires NIH-funded researchers to deposit
copies of agency-funded research articles into the National
Library of Medicine's online archive.

This change is necessary for the policy to achieve its
goals: to expand use of NIH research findings, enhance
management of NIH's substantial research portfolio, and
provide for a sustainable archive of research results funded
with U.S. tax dollars.

Widespread dissemination of research results is an
essential, inseparable component of our nation's
investment in science and a right of the American taxpayer.
It is only through use that we obtain value from this
investment, so the open sharing of medical advances and
scientific findings will increase and accelerate the return
of benefits to taxpayers.

Public access to research will drive taxpayer benefits such
as accelerated scientific advancement, enhanced national
competitiveness, and improved public health.

Unfortunately, access to scientific and medical publications
has lagged behind the wide reach of the Internet into U.S.
homes and institutions. Fees for access to federally
supported research unnecessarily limit U.S. taxpayer access
to findings that result from the outlay of public funds.

Mandatory NIH public access removes imposing barriers,
making the results of taxpayer-funded research readily
available online at no extra charge to every scientist as
well as to small businesses, patients, physicians and
clinicians, students and educators, and the American public
without disrupting the important peer-review process.

Over the more than two years since its implementation, the
NIH's current voluntary policy has failed to achieve any
of the agency's stated goals, attaining a deposit rate
of less than 5% by individual researchers. A mandate is
required to ensure deposit in NIH's online archive of
articles describing findings of all research funded by the

Mandatory public access to taxpayer-funded research at the
NIH has the full support of the NIH Director, as well as
broad bipartisan support in Congress.

Arguments that mandatory public access would violate U.S.
treaty obligations have no merit (see:

Second, the bill provides funding for key programs, such as
the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Library
Services and Technology Act, and the State Grant program,
that provide critical support for the nation's libraries and
help ensure that essential information is available to all
citizens though important research, training, and service

Thank you for your support of the veto override.