House Bill Surfaces That Would Eliminate the NHPRC

Recently a draft bill surfaced in the House which included a provision to eliminate the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

On July 21, the House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee had been expected to consider legislation to address the massive employee records data breach at the Office of Personnel Management. The costs associated with implementing the bill require an offset elsewhere in the federal budget.

Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) proposed eliminating the NHPRC to pay for remediation of the OPM data breach. NHPRC’s current annual budget is $5 million which would generate $25 million over the next five fiscal years. At the last minute, the draft bill was removed from the committee’s website and hearing agenda. Rumors are that the bill was likely pulled for reasons having to do with opposition from federal employee unions unrelated to the NHPRC.

It is expected the Oversight Committee will consider the bill after Labor Day when it returns from its August recess. NCH is closely monitoring the situation and will post developments via our social media, newsletter and website. NCH will obviously mount a vigorous campaign to oppose the bill and when appropriate you will be sent a legislative alert concerning on how to contact your Members of Congress.

NHPRC grants support a wide range of activities to preserve and increase public access to historical records and to publish, in print and/or electronically, the papers of significant figures in U.S. history. Its most ambitious project, Founders Online, has made available online the papers of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. This allows the public free access to these primary sources on the internet. The NHPRC also provides money to state archives to, among other things, develop best practices to protect their public records during natural disasters such as hurricanes.

Here is a link to talking points about the NHPRC. http://historycoalition.org/advocacy/national-historical-publications-and-records-commission-talking-points/

If you have any questions, please contact NCH Executive Director Lee White at lwhite@historycoalition.org.