On December 14, the National Security Archive (NSA) and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reached a settlement with the Obama administration of their long-running lawsuits challenging the failure of the Bush administration and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to take any action after confronted with evidence that millions of emails had gone missing from Bush White House servers over a two and one-half year period. An estimated 22 million e-mails that were assumed lost were recovered as a result of the lawsuits.
The National Archives & Records Administration’s (NARA) budget will increase by $9 million to $457 million under the fiscal year (FY) 2010 omnibus spending bill that cleared the Congress on December 13. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) will receive $13 million in grant funding, the highest level in its history. (see related story).
Funding for the U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History (TAH) program would remain at $119 million under the fiscal year 2010 omnibus spending bill passed by Congress on December 13. Funding for the program has remained relatively constant since FY 2004, fluctuating annually between $120 million and $118 million.
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission’s (NHPRC) budget would increase from the current fiscal year’s $11.25 million to $13 million under the fiscal year (FY) 2010 omnibus funding bill passed by Congress on December 13. Most importantly, the NHPRC would receive the entire $13 million in funding for grants; the highest appropriations level in its history. This is a sizeable increase of $3.75 million over the $9.25 million in grant money NHPRC received in FY 2009.
On December 11, Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) introduced legislation (S. 2872) to reauthorize the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for five years. The bill would increase the NHPRC’s authorized spending level by $500,000 each year beginning at $13 million in fiscal year (FY) 2010 and ending at $15 million in FY 2014. The NHPRC’s most recent authorization expired at the end of FY 2009, and was at a level of $10 million.
On December 3, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s National Parks Subcommittee met to consider legislation (S. 1838) to establish a commission to commemorate the upcoming sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
In one of his first major acts since assuming the position, Archivist of the United States David Ferriero recently announced the creation of the NARA Holdings Protection Program and the appointment of a team to staff the initiative.
The Clerk’s Office of History and Preservation recently announced the launch of the official U.S. House of Representatives’ Oral History Web site. Interviews include a range of House staff and officers, as well as children of Members of Congress. In addition to interview transcripts in html and PDF formats, the site features video and audio clips, brief interviewee biographies, artifacts, images, and educational resources for teachers.
At its meeting on November 20, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), recommended to the Archivist of the United States 32 grants totaling $2.9 million for projects in 20 states and the District of Columbia. These recommendations include grants for digitizing historical records, electronic records preservation, and historical documentary editions. View the full list of recommended grants at NHPRC’s website.
On December 8, the White House issued an Open Government Directive requiring federal agencies to take immediate, specific steps to open their operations up to the public. In addition to the directive, the Administration released the Open Government Progress Report to the American People – an analysis of the steps already taken to increase transparency and plans for future initiatives.