FY ’11 Funding Bill Poses Threat to History & Archival Programs

The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives today brought to the floor a massive continuing resolution (H.R. 1) that would fund the federal government for the remainder of FY ’11. Agencies and programs important to the history and archival communities, such as Teaching

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American History Grants, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and others would see their funding slashed or eliminated.

Here is a sample of some of the more draconian cuts:

  • Teaching American History Grants—program eliminated; -$119 million
  • National Endowment for the Humanities–$22 million cut down to a level of $145 million. Amendments have been filed to further reduce that number or completely eliminate funding for NEH.
  • National Historical Publications and Records Commission–$6 million cut down to a level of $4 million. An amendment has been offered to eliminate funding for the NHPRC.

Agencies are currently operating at the FY 2010 funding level. H.R. 1 includes $100 billion in cuts below President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget request, which was never enacted by Congress, and $58 billion in cuts from the current level of spending. Some of the proposed cuts are already in the bill that emerged from the House Appropriations Committee and other programs face cuts or elimination by amendment on the floor.

The current continuing resolution expires on March 4 and Congress must enact either a funding bill that runs through the end of this fiscal year on September 30, or pass another in a series of short-term extensions. To clarify, the proposed budget released by the White House on February 14 is for Fiscal Year 2012 which does not begin until October 1.

The CR is expected to pass the House easily. However, Senate Democrats and the White House have already signaled they will not concur in the deep cuts passed by the House. The threat of a shutdown of the federal government, as occurred during the Clinton administration, remains a real possibility.

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