Act Now to Save NHPRC, NARA Funding!

May 1, 2019—The Trump Administration’s proposed budget for FY20 includes drastic cuts in federal humanities funding, including elimination of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. NHPRC is a critical source of grants for preserving our heritage and making it accessible to the public.

Now is the time to urge your Members of Congress to support federal programs that are vital to our archives community!

Our colleagues at the National Humanities Alliance have created a legislative action center that allows you to send multiple email messages to Congress from a single website. And our colleagues at the National Coalition for History have prepared a pre-written message specific to NARA and NHPRC that you can personalize or send as is. The system uses your ZIP code to identify your House member and Senators automatically.

Access the NHA Action Center.

Key messages for your communication:

  • As a constituent, I am writing to urge you to support funding for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and its grant-making arm, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
  • The Trump Administration has recommended funding of $345.6 million for NARA Operating Expenses in Fiscal Year 2020, which is $27.4 million less than the FY 19 level of $373 million. By comparison, NARA’s budget in FY 11 was $339 million. I urge you to support funding NARA at a level of $410 million for FY 20.
  • No government agency can absorb such significant decreases in funding without concomitant decreases in public services. Current funding levels are not adequate to serve legitimate public needs for accessibility and government accountability.  The American public relies on access to immigration and naturalization and census records (held by NARA) to conduct daily activities. Veterans and their families rely on military records (held by NARA) to gain access to their benefits. And, in recent years, NARA has been forced to cut back on public services and research hours at its facilities because of lack of funding.
  • I/we understand that Congress continues to face enormous fiscal challenges in crafting the federal budget for FY 20.  Although I/we’ve come to expect cuts as a result of these tight budget parameters, I/we are disappointed that the President has chosen to target programs at the National Archives that facilitate public access to the agency’s holdings and provide individuals with the historical context to appreciate and understand our democratic heritage. Increased federal spending for archives is necessary to manage, preserve, and make accessible the federal government’s records.
  • The Trump Administration is also proposing elimination of the NHPRC grants program. I urge you to ask appropriators to reject this proposal and to support funding for NHPRC at a level of $10 million.
  • NHPRC was established by Congress in 1934 to promote the preservation and use of the American documentary record. NHPRC grants support a wide range of activities to increase public access to historical records and to publish, in print and/or electronically, the papers of significant figures and themes relating to the history of the United States. In addition, NHPRC archival grants assist state and local governments in disaster preparedness, helping localities protect and preserve their vital public records during natural disasters. [Insert personal example.]
  • Thank you for your consideration.

For more resources on Advocacy, including an Advocacy Guide and issue briefs on Federal Funding Programs for Archives and Historical Records and Support for NARA and NHPRC, see SAA’s Archives, Public Policy & You page. 

Why not a phone call? Many Hill staffers’ voice-mail boxes are full due to unprecedented advocacy activity, but if you prefer to make a phone call, find your Representative here or Senators here.

If you let us know (at saahq[at]archivists.org) that you’ve sent a message or made a call, we’ll send you an “I’m an Archives Advocate” button!

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