March Madness On Capitol Hill–Still No FY ’11 Budget

March Madness is already well underway on Capitol Hill. The congressional version though has nothing to do with basketball, but rather its inability to pass a budget for fiscal year 2011, which will be half over on April 1. The Senate is poised to approve the sixth continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running until April 8th.

Of particular concern to historians is the fate of K-12 history education. The House-passed version of the continuing resolution (H.R. 1) to provide funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 eliminated funding for the Teaching American History (TAH) grants program. The Senate version would have continued funding TAH at the FY 2010 level of $119 million. Neither of these bills passed the Senate however.

As a result, TAH funding for the current fiscal year that ends on September 30 remains in limbo. No cuts for TAH are included in the current three week CR. Even though the Department of Education is accepting TAH applications

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for FY ’11, they won’t award any grants until they are sure one way or the other whether they are receiving funding.

Funding for two preservation programs at the National Park Service was eliminated. They had been targeted for elimination under the Administration’s proposed budget.

Save America’s Treasures program–eliminated (-$14.8 million): These funds are used to make small one-time grants for specific local historic preservation projects to preserve a building or artifact which might otherwise be lost.

Preserve America program—eliminated ($4.6 million): This program provides small grants to local communities in support of heritage tourism, education and historic preservation planning activities.