Congress Completes Action on Fiscal Year ’08 Federal Budget

On December 19, 2007, Congress cleared an omnibus funding package (H.R. 2764, Caution: this file is 1,443 pages long) that incorporates the eleven fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills for non-Defense Department agencies. The overall total for the bill is $555 billion. On December 26, 2007, President Bush signed the bill into law.

Here is a summary of FY ’08 funding for agencies and programs of interest to the historical and archival communities. Please note that for comparison purposes, the FY ’07 budget number will be included in parentheses after this year’s amount and report language from the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will be added where appropriate.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES & RECORDS ADMINISTRATION (NARA):

  • Total budget–$400 million ($331 million)
    Note: this amount includes funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
  • Operating Expenses–$315 million ($279 million)
    This amount is $2.1 million more than the Administration’s request. The Archivist was directed to target the amount above the request first to restore the public research hours that were cut in October 2006, and then to hire more archivist staff.
  • Electronic Records Archives project–$58 million ($45 million)
    The Appropriations Committees expressed concern about cost overruns in the ERA program, NARA’s oversight of the program, and the reliability of the contractor (Lockheed Martin Corporation). The Archivist was directed to make monthly progress reports to the Government Accountability Office and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
  • Repairs and Restoration–$28 million ($9 million)

The funding was allocated by the Appropriations Committees as follows:

  • Repairs and restoration of NARA facilities–$8.6 million
  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Library–$8 million
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library–$750,000
  • Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library–$7.4 million
  • Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library–$3.7 million

NATIONAL HISTORICAL PUBLICATIONS & RECORDS COMMISSION (NHPRC):

  • Total Budget–$9.5 million ($7.5 million)
  • Grants–$7.5 million ($5.5 million)
  • Operating Expenses–$2 million (same as FY ’07)

The Appropriations Committees expressed concern about the length of time it was taking to complete the publication of the Founding Fathers historical papers. They instructed the Archivist to “accelerate the process” for completion of the projects and to develop a plan to make the papers available on-line. The Archivist was given 90 days to report back to the committees.

TEACHING AMERICAN HISTORY GRANTS (Department of Education):

  • Program total–$120 million ($119.7 million)

Since the Administration had proposed cutting the program to $50 million, this is a significant victory for the historical community. The Appropriations Committees recommended that the Department of Education provide initial three-year grants, with two additional years if a grantee is performing effectively.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES (NEH):

  • Total budget–$147 million ($141 million)
  • Grants and Administration–$132.5 million ($125.8 million) Programs under this budget line include:
  • Federal and State Partnerships–$32.2 million ($30 million)
  • Preservation and Acces–$18.6 million ($18.3 million)
  • Public Programs–$12.9 million ($12.3 million)
  • Research Programs–$13.2 million ($12.6 million)
  • Education Programs–$12.8 million, ($12.2 million)
  • Program Development–$362K ($375K)
  • We the People Initiative Grants–$15.2 million (same)
  • Digital Humanities Initiative–$2 million (new funding)
  • Matching grants: $14.5 million ($15.2 million)

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE:

The Committees provided $25 million in funding for the new Centennial Challenge program. This amount was half of what the Administration had proposed. The Centennial Challenge is a ten-year initiative to generate $2 billion in public and private matching grants to prepare for the Park Service’s Centennial celebration in 2016.

  • Cultural Programs–$21.7 million ($22.6 million)
  • Preserve America program–$7.5 million ($4.9 million)
  • Heritage Partnerships program–$15.5 million ($13.3 million)
  • Historic Preservation Fund –$71.5 million ($65.6 million), The Fund includes:
  • State Historic Preservation Offices–$40 million ($37 million)
  • Save America’s Treasures Program–$25 million ($8 million)

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION:

  • Total–$693 million ($634.9 million)
  • Salaries and Expenses–$571 million ($536 million)
  • Facilities Capital–$107 million ($98.6 million)

The bill also includes $15 million to establish a Legacy Fund. The new fund is intended to provide a means to address the $2.5 billion backlog of major repair and restoration of the Institution’s facilities that now exist. The Legacy Fund has been designed as a public-private partnership whereby each federal dollar provided must be matched by twice that amount in private contributions before the full $15 million is made available. Assuming that the Smithsonian can raise the $30 million, the Legacy Fund would provide $45 million above the amount already included in the Facilities Capital account that is allocated $107 million in FY ’08.

INSTITUTE OF MUSEUM & LIBRARY SERVICES (IMLS): $268 million ($247 million)

WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SCHOLARS: $10 million ($9.1 million)

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