Senate Appropriations Panel Increases Funding for NARA & NHPRC

On July 10, 2008, the Senate Appropriations Committee cleared the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) 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 $441.6 million, a significant $41.6 million increase over the FY ’08 enacted amount. The NHPRC would receive $8.5 million for grants and $2 million for administrative expenses, a $1 million increase over the current year’s budget.

National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)

While the Senate provided the NHPRC $1 million more than the $7.5 million in grant money it received in fiscal year 2008, the $8.5 million amount was $1.5 million less than the $10 million provided in the FY ’09 funding bill passed by the House last month. Both bills provide $2 million for administrative expenses associated with the NHPRC. The president’s budget had once again proposed eliminating the NHPRC.

NHPRC:

  • $8.5 million (FY ’09 Senate Appropriations bill; +$2 million for administrative expenses)
  • $10 million (FY ’09 House Appropriations bill; +$2 million for administrative expenses)
  • $0 (FY ’09 President’s request)
  • $7.5 million (FY ’08 enacted, + $2 million for administrative expenses.)

NARA Operating Expenses

  • $330.8 million (FY ’09 Senate Appropriations bill; +$3.1 million over the President’s request)
  • $330 million (FY ’09 House Appropriations bill; +$2.3 million over the President’s request)
  • $327.7 million (FY ’09 President’s request)
  • $315 million (FY ’08 enacted)

Both the Senate and House bills allocate $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. The Appropriations Committee rejected the president’s proposal and establishes the OGIS office within NARA.

Electronic Records Archives project–$67 million ($58 million)

The Electronic Records Archives project would see its budget increase from the current $58 million to $67 million in FY 2009. This reflects the same amount provided in the FY ’09 House FSGG appropriations bill and requested by the president.

Repairs and Restoration

  • $33.2 million (FY ’09 Senate Appropriations bill; +$24 million over the President’s request)
  • $26.7 million (FY ’09 House Appropriations bill; +$17.5 million over the President’s request)
  • $9.2 million (FY ’09 President’s request)
  • $28.6 million (FY ’08 enacted)

The Repairs and Restoration budget line would be increased to $33.2 million, up from $28.6 million last year. The Senate FSSG FY ’09 bill includes $9.2 million for repairs and restoration, the same amount requested by the administration. However, $22 million in additional earmarked funds would go towards repairs and renovations at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and $2 million for the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library .

NARA had identified repairs to the FDR Library as its highest priority capital improvement need, but the Senate did not provide any funds for that project. The House bill provides $17.5 million in additional earmarked funds towards repairs and renovation at the FDR Library. The House bill does not include earmarked funding for the JFK or LBJ Libraries. The differences in these priorities will have to be worked out in conference committee.

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