This week, the House Appropriations Committee approved (by a vote of 28-18) the fiscal year (FY) 2012 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which provides funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), conservation and heritage programs National Park Service and the Smithsonian Institution.
National Endowment for the Humanities
The Committee funded the NEH at $135 million, which represents a nearly $20 million cut from current year funding and $11 million less than the President’s FY12 request.
The Committee did not support Administration’s proposal to discontinue the We the People program. We the People is a grant program designed to promote the teaching, study, and understanding of American history, culture, and democratic principles. Noting that, “We the People is a proven, cost-effective national grant program with broad geographic reach and bipartisan congressional support,” the Committee directed that it be sustained at no less than $4,750,000 in fiscal year 2012.
The Committee supported the Administration’s proposed Bridging Cultures initiative which strives to promote civil discourse and a better understanding of our multi-cultural society. However, the Committee funded the Bridging Cultures initiative at $2,000,000, which is $2,000,000 below the budget request.
National Park Service
Heritage Partnership Program—The Committee recommended $8,993,000 for the Heritage Partnership Program (HPP) as requested, $8,408,000 below the fiscal year 2011 enacted level. These funds support grants to local non-profit groups in support of historical and cultural recognition, preservation and tourism activities.
Historic Preservation Fund—The Committee recommended $49,500,000 for historic preservation programs, $4,891,000 below the fiscal year 2011 enacted level and 11,500,000 below the budget request. The level for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices is equal to funding provided in fiscal year 2009.
State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices—The Committee recommended $42,500,000 for State Historic Preservation Offices, $3,907,000 below the fiscal year 2011 enacted level and $7,500,000 below the budget request. The Committee recommended $7,000,000 for Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, $984,000 below the fiscal year 2011 enacted level and $4,000,000 below the budget request.
Per the Obama administration’s FY ’12 budget request, the Save America’s Treasures and Preserve America programs were not funded.
The Committee recommended $626,971,000 for salaries and expenses of the Smithsonian Institution, $7,918,000 below the fiscal year 2011 enacted level and $9,559,000 below the budget request.
The Committee recommended $124,750,000 for facilities capital, equal to the fiscal year 2011 enacted level and $100,250,000 below the budget request.
The Committee recommended $50,000,000 for construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. These funds, which will ensure that construction begins on time, complement $45,000,000 provided by the Congress in prior years for pre-construction planning and design.