House restores funding to NHPRC

In spite of the recent bad news that the House of Representatives cut the overall budget for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) by $8 million, there also was some good news. Lawmakers restored funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) -- $5.5 million for grants and $2 million for administration related costs, for a total of $7.5 million. This is the same figure that the NHPRC was appropriated in 2006 and hence, in FY 2007, the House is recommending "level funding" for the agency. It is certainly far better than the figure proposed in the President's budget (which was zero funding), but not the "no less than full funding" ($10 million) level that the history and archival communities have been advocating.

We should, however, graciously thank Chairman Knowlenberg and the other members of the House Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, District of Columbia Appropriations Subcommittee (T-THUD) for all their efforts to restore some level of funding to the NHPRC in this particularly austere funding environment. As was the case last year, the funding restoration is also due in part to the hard work by the coalition of archives and history organizations that devoted time and energy to this effort.

While the news from the House Appropriations Committee is certainly welcomed and definitely a step in the right direction, there is still much that needs to be done to insure funding for the NHPRC in FY 2007. To that end, NHPRC supporters now need to focus attention on the Senate, where, on 20 July the Senate Transportation/
Treasury Appropriations Subcommittee will be advancing its version of the FY 2007 funding bill. In your communications with senators, please request that the funding recommended by the Senate be no less than full funding $10 million for competitive grants, plus an additional $2 million for administration and staffing of the NHPRC in the National Archives budget. Realistically, this year the Senate will probably not appropriate a number higher than the House, but we still must establish a need beyond last year's appropriation levels.

As a result of recent communications with Senate Appropriations Committee staff, it appears there is support for the NHPRC by the committee and subcommittee chairs and ranking members and by some members of the committee (
). However, all members of the committee need to hear from constituents and organizations. In conversations with committee staff, LETTERS FROM ORGANIZATIONS are especially needed this year. They should be sent to the Chairman (Senator Bond) with copies to the Ranking Member (Senator Murray).

Members of the full Appropriation Committee include: Republicans: Cochran (R-MS); Committee Chair), Allard (R-CO), Bond (R-MO), Shelby (R-AL), Specter (R-PA), Bennett (R-UT), Hutchison (R-TX), DeWine (R-OH), Brownback (R-KS), Stevens (R-AK), Domenici (R-NM), Burns (R-MT), McConnell (R-KY),Gregg (R-NH); Craig (R-ID); Democrats: Byrd (D-WV; Ranking Member), Feinstein (D-CA), Inouye (D-HI), Landrieu (D-LA), Mikulski (D-MD), Reid (D-NV), Kohl (D-WI), Murray (D-WA), Durbin (D-IL), Dorgan (D-ND), Leahy (D-VT), Johnson (D-SD) and Harkin (D-IA).

ACTION ITEM -- INDIVIDUALS: SEND LETTER TO SENATORS! If you are a constituent of any senator listed above, please make a telephone, e-mail, or fax communication in support of the NHRPC! You can obtain contact information for your senator by going to the following webpage:

ORGANIZATIONS: PLEASE FAX A LETTER OF SUPPORT addressed to the Chairs of both the Senate Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the NHPRC budget: The Honorable Thad Cochran, Chair, US Senate Appropriations Committee, Room S-128 Capitol Building, Washington D.C. 20510; Fax 202. 228-0248 and to: The Honorable Christopher S. Bond, Chair, Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary and Housing and Urban Development, Room 133 Dirksen SOB, Washington D.C. 20510; FAX 202.

Letters to the Ranking Minority Member of the subcommittee should be addressed to: The Honorable Patty Murray, Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, and Housing and Urban Development, Room 128 Dirksen SOB, Washington, D.C. 20510; FAX 202. 228-0249 and to the Ranking Member of the full Appropriations Committee, The Honorable Robert C. Byrd, Room S-125A The Capitol, Washington, D.C. 20510; FAX 202. 224-8553.

For over 40 years, the NHPRC has played an essential federal leadership role in preserving and publishing important historical records that document American history. The NHPRC has an outstanding success record of using a small amount of federal funds to leverage other contributions. It is important that the NHPRC be able to continue preserving our nation's historical records, promoting regional and national coordination in archives-related matters, and supporting a wide range of other activities relating to America's documentary heritage.

In the President's FY 2007 budget submission, all funding for the NHPRC is proposed to be eliminated. The House of Representatives has adopted a funding level of $5.5 million for grants and $2 million for program support. Funding decisions have yet to be made by the Senate. The archives and history communities are recommending the NHPRC be allotted no less than $10 million for grants and $2 million for staffing and administrative support for this small but essential federal program.

For additional background about the NHPRC, including guidelines for writing letters to members of Congress and other relevant information is located at the National Coalition for History webpage under the section titled "NHPRC-Take Action!"

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