House Panel Fully Funds NHPRC; Increases Funding for NARA





On June 25, 2008, the House Appropriations Committee cleared the Financial Services and General Government fiscal year 2009 appropriations bill that includes funding for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). NARA received $423.8 million, a significant $23.6 million increase over the FY ’08 enacted amount. And the NHPRC not only staved off elimination, but also received its fully authorized amount of $10 million (plus $2 million for administrative costs) for the first time in five years.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES & RECORDS ADMINISTRATION (NARA) Note: amount in parentheses = FY ’08 amount

Total budget–$423.8 million ($400.2 million)
Operating Expenses—$330 million ($317 million)
Electronic Records Archives project–$67 million ($58 million)
Repairs and Restoration–$26.7 million ($28 million)
The total fiscal year (FY) 2009 budget provides $423.8 million for the National Archives and Records Administration. This amount is $31.7 million more than the president’s request and $23.6 million more than the $400.2 million NARA received in FY 2008.

The National Archives would receive $330 million for operating expenses, $2.2 million over the president’s request of $327.8, and a $13 million increase from $317 million in FY 2008.

This $2.2 million over the president’s request amount includes $1 million for the creation of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at NARA. Late last year, President Bush signed into law the “Open Government Act of 2007″ (Public Law 110-175). The law requires the establishment of an Office of Government Information Services within NARA. Within that office a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ombudsman is to be appointed to review agency policies and procedures, audit agency performance, recommend policy changes, and mediate disputes between FOIA requestors and agencies.

Unfortunately, when President Bush sent his proposed FY ‘09 budget to Congress, no funding was included for the establishment of the OGIS at NARA. Instead, the President proposed language to move OGIS to the Department of Justice, and to repeal the language in the Open the Government Act placing OGIS at the National Archives. This bill rejects the president’s proposal and establishes the OGIS office within NARA.

The increase also provides $567,000 to hire additional archival staff.

The Electronic Records Archives project would see its budget increase from the current $58 million to $67 million in FY 2009. This reflects the amount requested by the president.

The Repairs and Restoration budget line would be cut to $26.7 million, down from $28 million last year. But it is $17.7 million more than the $9 million under the president’s request. $17.5 million would go towards much-needed repairs at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library.

NATIONAL HISTORICAL PUBLICATIONS & RECORDS COMMISSION (NHPRC)

For the first time since FY 2004, in FY 2009 the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) would receive its fully authorized amount of $10 million for grants and an additional $2million for administrative expenses.

As it has in recent years, the Bush administration had once again zeroed out funding for the NHPRC. In FY ’08, Congress provided $9.5 million for NHPRC $7.5 million in grants funding and $2 million for administrative expenses.

Total Budget—$12 million (9.5 million)
Grants–$10 million ($7.5 million)
Administrative Expenses–$2 million (same as FY ’08)

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