February 22, 2005—More than 150 federal programs are slated to be slashed or eliminated in the FY2006 budget recommendations released by the White House on February 7. In that proposed budget, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) has been targeted to receive NO funding. This will mean no funds for the grants program and no funds for staffing to support NHPRC programs. In addition, the overall budget for the National Archives and Records Administration has significant decreases in other areas of importance. The relevant section for NHPRC specifically states:
"National Historical Publications and Records Commission Grants.—This program provides funding for grants that the Commission makes, nationwide, to preserve and publish records that document American history. The Budget proposes no new grants funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission in 2006."
The full budget document is available at www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy06/. See pages 1188-1192.
SAA, the Council of State Historical Records Coordinators (COSHRC), and the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA) have formed a Joint Task Force on Advocacy to take action collaboratively on appropriate issues. The first work of the group is to save NHPRC funding, an effort on which it is coordinating efforts with the National Coalition for History and the Association for Documentary Editing. An action plan will be implemented throughout the coming months.
Take the first step. Fax letters to the House and Senate Appropriations committees, their individual members, and staff, urging them to restore funding for NHPRC. (Email is given less credence because congressional offices are deluged by it, and regular mail is being slowed by irradiation procedures. Faxing is the best long-distance means for getting your message to Congress. Of course, if one of your Senators and/or your Representative serve on an Appropriations committee and you have a chance to pay a visit to his or her Washington or home office, that’s the very best way to communicate!)
The committees begin meeting on March 1, so it’s important to fax your letter(s) soon. One key message to present to Congress is that the exceptional benefits afforded by NHPRC come at a very low cost and have long-lasting effects. Specific stories of the impact that NHPRC has had on local institutions and programs can be especially effective.
Here are some items to assist you with this effort:
Check out www.humanitiesadvocacy.org, a new Web site that includes easy-to-use links to Congressional offices and more information about archives-related issues. SAA, COSHRC, and NAGARA are members of the National Coalition for History, which co-sponsors the site.
Let us know who you know. Do you or your repository have a long-standing relationship with a member of one of the Appropriations committees? Or with someone else who may have influence in helping to save NHPRC? Please let us know. Contact SAA Executive Director Nancy Beaumont at email@example.com or 312/922-0140. We’ll keep a record of contacts so that we can call on you if needed.
Let us know about your progress. We’d like to track the flow of information to Congress. If possible, please forward a copy of your correspondence or a note about your contact to Nancy Beaumont at firstname.lastname@example.org or to any member of the Joint Task Force (listed below).
Keep your eye on the SAA Web site. We’ll update you regularly on the status of the budget discussions.
Thank you for your help!
David Carmicheal (email@example.com) (COSHRC)
Sandra Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org) (COSHRC)
Kathleen Roe (email@example.com) (COSHRC)
Tim Slavin (firstname.lastname@example.org) (NAGARA)
Peter Gottlieb (email@example.com) (SAA)
Joan Krizack (firstname.lastname@example.org) (SAA)
Richard Pearce-Moses (email@example.com) (SAA)
Nancy Beaumont (firstname.lastname@example.org) (SAA)
See also: NARA Press Release (February 7, 2005)