Anonymous Hold Placed on Senate Presidential Records Bill

The National Coalition for History (NCH) has learned that just prior to the Congressional adjournment last month, an anonymous hold was placed by a Republican senator on, the “Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 (H.R. 1255).” Supporters had sought to have the bill considered under the Senate’s unanimous consent rule that allows non-controversial bills to be brought up on an expedited basis.

A previous hold on the bill by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) was lifted after concerns he had with provisions of the bill had been addressed.

The National Coalition for History is asking everyone in the historical and archival community to contact their U.S. Senators to ask them to urge Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to force the Republican senator to lift their hold and allow the presidential records reform bill (H.R. 1255) to come to the Senate floor. All Senate offices can be reached through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202)-224-3121.

On March 14, 2007, by a vote of 333-93, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 1255.

In November 2001, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13233, which gave current and former presidents and vice presidents broad authority to withhold presidential records or delay their release indefinitely. The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 would nullify the Bush executive order and establish procedures to ensure the timely release of presidential records.