On December 26, 2007, President Bush signed into law an omnibus funding package (H.R. 2764) that incorporates the eleven fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills for non-Defense Department agencies. The overall total for the bill is $555 billion. Congress passed the bill on December 19.
Here is a summary of FY ’08 funding for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which is under the Financial Services and General Government appropriation. Please note that for comparison purposes, the FY ’07 budget number will be included in parentheses after this year’s amount. In addition, report language from the House and Senate Appropriations Committee will be added where appropriate.
NATIONAL ARCHIVES & RECORDS ADMINISTRATION (NARA):
- Total budget–$411 million ($341 million)
Note: this amount includes funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
- Operating Expenses–$315 million ($279 million)
This amount is $2.1 million more than the Administration’s request. The Archivist was directed to target the amount above the request first to restore the public research hours that were cut in October 2006, and then to hire more archivist staff. The Archives intends to allocate $1.3 million to restore the research hours and $800,000 to replace archival staff that have left in recent years. NARA was directed to report to the Committees on Appropriations, within 30 days of enactment, on specific steps NARA is taking to restore the research hours and to bolster NARA’s archivist workforce.
- Electronic Records Archives project–$58 million ($45 million)
The Appropriations Committees expressed concern about cost overruns in the ERA program, NARA’s oversight of the program, and the reliability of the work of the contractor (Lockheed Martin Corporation). The Committees stated that additional delays “are unacceptable.” The Archivist was directed to make monthly progress reports to the Government Accountability Office and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
- Repairs and Restoration–$28 million ($9 million)
The funding was allocated by the Appropriations Committees as follows:
- Repairs and restoration of NARA facilities–$8.6 million
- John F. Kennedy Presidential Library–$8 million
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library–$750,000
- Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library–$7.4 million
- Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library–$3.7 million
As the amount of records generated by the federal government has increased exponentially, the National Archives budget has remained stagnant for many years. Additional costs for staffing, infrastructure maintenance, and the impending addition of the George W. Bush presidential library to the Archives’ responsibilities, have placed even more stress on NARA’s already lean budget.
In October 2006, because of budget shortfalls, the Archives was forced to cut back on the hours that its facilities are available to researchers. In addition, the Archives enacted a hiring freeze. This is at a time that the Archives has a backlog of some 400-500 million pages of records that need to be processed.