On April 10, 2013, President Obama sent his proposed fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget request to Congress. In general, programs affecting historians, archivists and other National Coalition for History (NCH) stakeholders would receive funding levels comparable to those they received in the FY ’13 budget (pre-sequester).
Major exceptions are the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). President Obama has requested FY 2014 funding of $154.2 million for the NEH, an $8.2 million increase from the FY ’13 level of $146 million. The NHPRC would see its budget cut by $2 million from the FY ’13 level of $5 million to $3 million in the President’s proposal.
As in year’s past, Republican leaders in Congress declared the President’s budget “dead on arrival.” As we all know Congress can barely pass continuing resolutions to keep the government operating, often from week-to-week, let alone pass all its appropriations bills in a given fiscal year. Nonetheless, the President’s budget is relevant for some of the smaller agencies and programs that affect our stakeholders since it often sets benchmarks that provide the starting point for negotiations.
Below are highlights of the President’s proposed FY ’14 budget for key federal agencies and programs. The FY ‘13 budget numbers are provided for comparison. It should be noted that the President’s proposed budget was submitted to Congress over two months past the early-February deadline. On March 1, 2013, the sequester imposed a 5% across-the-board cut to non-exempt non-defense discretionary funding. The President’s budget includes the FY’13 numbers that were in place before the sequester went into effect. Where the post-sequester amount is available it is provided.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
The President’s FY ‘14 appropriations budget request includes $385.8 million for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The agency’s request is a reduction of $5.7 million from the $391.5 million amount Congress provided for FY’13. NARA’s current budget under the sequester is $371 million.
NARA has requested $370.7 million for its operating expenses. This includes funding for rent, energy, security and staff costs at NARA’s facilities nationwide as well as operational costs of the Electronic Records Archives program.
NARA’s request also includes $4.1 million for the Office of Inspector General and $8 million for repairs and restorations to NARA-owned buildings, a 12 percent reduction from FY ‘12 funding level of $9.1 million.
National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC)
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission grants program would see its funding slashed from its FY ’13 appropriation of $5 million to $3 million, a 40 percent reduction. The NHPRC’s budget is $4.75 million under the sequester.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
President Obama has requested FY 2014 funding of $154.4 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities. This represents an $8.4 million increase over the final FY 2013 appropriation of $146 million. Under the sequester, funding for NEH declined to $140 million.
The President’s request includes:
- $106.8 million for the Endowment’s grant programs in support of projects in the humanities, including $43.4 million for the operations, projects and programs of the 56 state and territorial humanities councils;
- $9 million to support NEH’s special initiative—Bridging Cultures—designed to renew and reinforce the bridges between the multiplicities of cultures and heritages that are part of the fabric of American life;
- $11.2 million in federal matching funds, including funds for the NEH Challenge Grants program to help stimulate and match private donations in support of humanities institutions and organizations;
- $27.4 million for salaries and expenses needed to operate the agency.
U.S. Department of Education
K-12 History Education
The President’s fiscal year 2014 budget request for the Department of Education once again proposes consolidating K-12 history education into a new program called Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education. In the FY’12 budget, funding for the Teaching American History (TAH) grants program were eliminated.
In FY ’14 the Administration proposes $75 million in funding for the new initiative. In FY ’13 the proposed amount was $90 million and in FY ‘12 that amount was $246 million, showing a clearly reduced commitment on the part of the Administration to the proposal. The Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education program would support competitive grants to States, high-need LEAs, and nonprofit partners to develop and expand innovative practices to improve teaching and learning of the arts, foreign languages, history, government, economics and financial literacy, environmental education, physical education, health education, and other subjects. There would be no dedicated funding for any of the disciplines.
It is important to remember this reorganization of programs is dependent on the passage of a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the law that governs K-12 education. Congress has been stalemated on this issue for nearly 5 years and it is unlikely that an ESEA reauthorization bill will be enacted anytime soon.
Higher Education International Programs
The U.S. Department of Education’s International Education and Foreign Language Studies (IEFLS) programs, including HEA-Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs, form the vital infrastructure of the federal government’s investment in the international expertise pipeline. The IEFLS programs support comprehensive language and area study centers within the United States, research and curriculum development, opportunities for American scholars to study and conduct research abroad, and activities to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in international service.
The Fulbright-Hays program is of particular importance to historians because of the resources they provide for research and education relating to foreign languages and cultures.
- President’s FY ’14 Request: $81 million
- FY ’13: $74.1 million
Under the President’s proposed budget, the Fulbright-Hays program would be level funded while the Title VI Domestic Programs would see a fairly robust increase of $6.9 million.
- President’s FY ’14 Budget Request: $7.5 million
- FY ’13: $7.5 million
Higher Education Act, Title VI-A&B (Domestic Programs)
- President’s FY ’14 Budget Request: $73.5 million (+$6.9 million)
- FY ’13: $66.6 million
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
President Obama has requested 225.8 million in fiscal year 2014 for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a $6 million increase over the agency’s current funding. The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.
The President requested funding in FY ’14 of $32.9 million for museum programs. This reflects a $3.7 million (12.9 % increase) over the FY ’13 funding level.
The President requested $177 million for library programs, a slight increase over the FY ’13 level of $175 million.
National Park Service
The 2014 budget request for the Historic Preservation Fund is $58.9 million. Of this total, $46.9 million (level funding) is requested for grants-in-aid to States and Territories, $9 million is requested for grants-in-aid to Tribes, and $3.0 million would be allocated for new competitive grants targeted toward com¬munities currently underrepresented on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Heritage Partnership Program would see its grant funding cut nearly in half from the current $17 million to $9 million. This program supports the 49 National Heritage Areas created by Congress.
The budget also requests $5.5 million to acquire Civil War battlefield lands within national parks.
The Administration’s fiscal year 2014 budget request to Congress for the Smithsonian Institution is $869 million, an increase of $59 million from the appropriation enacted in FY 2012—$810 million. For the current fiscal year, the Smithsonian has operated on a continuing resolution at the same level as the 2012 budget, less $41 million due to sequestration. However, the Smithsonian was granted two additions this year: $5 million for the National Museum of African American History and Culture scheduled to open in 2015 and $2 million for roof repairs following Hurricane Sandy.
The Salaries and Expenses request for FY 2014 is $711 million and the Facilities Capital budget is $158 million, which includes $55 million for the construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.