Rep. Glenn English (D-Okla.) recently came up with a bill he thought the Reagan administration would love: It would curtail federal government spending on future presidential libraries by forcing organizations that build the libraries to set up endowments to help pay for their upkeep.
But on Monday, the administration's chief budget-cutter, David A. Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget, sent a letter to the House Government Operations Committee saying that while the White House agreed with the thrust of the bill, it did not think it should apply to the future Ronald Reagan library.
Yesterday, with the panel's ranking Republican branding Stockman's suggestion as "surprising if not offensive," the House panel unanimously approved English's bill -- but gave in to the White House and exempted the Reagan library from the endowment requirement.
The Reagan library was not exempted, however, from the bill's requirement that future libraries conform to federally set minimum design standards.
"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," English told the committee. "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."
There are libraries for seven former presidents -- Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Gerald R. Ford. Two other former presidents, Richard M. Nixon and Jimmy Carter, have "holding facilities" for their presidential papers until libraries are built. Aides to English said the annual cost of all nine facilities is about $13.5 million.