Congress Passes Funding for Teaching American History Grants and IMLS

This week, Congress sent to the President, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill (H.R. 3043; H. Report 110-424). The conference agreement includes $120 million for the Teaching of Traditional American History program at the Department of Education, a $210,000 increase over the FY 2007 level. The conferees also recommended that the Department provide initial three-year grants, with two additional years if a grantee is performing effectively.

The conference report passed the House on November 8 by a vote of 274-141, short of the two-thirds vote needed to override the threatened Presidential veto. To date, none of the 12 federal agency appropriations bills have been enacted into law. Federal programs are operating at FY 2007 levels on a continuing resolution until November 16.

Funding for other programs of interest to the historical and archival community include:

Institute of Museum and Library Services

The conference agreement provides $277.131 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This total includes $258 million for regular programs and administration, an increase of $10.9 million over last year’s level, and $13.2 million less than the amount requested by the administration. While funding for museum programs fell short of the President’s request, conferees identified $19.1 million in earmarks designated for more than ninety projects at museums, historical societies, and libraries. Funding for similar earmarks was removed from final appropriations legislation in 2006 and 2007, but has reached levels as high as $39 million in preceding years.

Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations (Department of Education)

Conferees provided $9,000,000 for Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations (ECHO) a federally funded educational and cultural enrichment initiative, serving hundreds of thousands of children, teachers, and adult continuing learners in Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Mississippi.

Presidential and Congressional American History and Civics Academies (Department of Education)

The conference report provides $1.98 million for American History and Civics Academies, to support the establishment of Presidential Academies for Teachers of American History and Civics, and Congressional Academies for Students of American History and Civics.

Note: Provided courtesy of the National Humanities Alliance.