House Funding Bill Would Cut NEH and National Park Service History Programs in FY 15

The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies marked up its fiscal year (FY) 2015 funding bill today. Of major concern are proposed cuts in funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and history and preservation programs at the National Park Service.

NEH’s budget would be cut $8 million from the current $146 million to $136 million. This is the lowest level in constant dollars since 1972.

The Historic Preservation Programs account at the Park Service would be level funded in FY 15 at $56.4 million. However, the Heritage Partnership Program would be cut $9 million from the FY 14 funding level of $18.2 million. Grants awarded under the program would be cut by 54 percent. This is in line with the Administration’s request.

The bill also includes funding for the Smithsonian Institution and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

Overall, the Smithsonian would receive a budget increase of $8.2 million. However, there would be a major internal shift of funding priorities. Salaries and Expenses would receive a $27.2 million increase up to a level of $674.2 million while Facilities Capital would be reduced by $19 million down to $139 million. The National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is currently under construction on the National Mall, would receive $24 million. The museum is scheduled to open in 2015.

The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars’ budget would be cut by $600,000 from its current appropriation of $10.5 million down to $9.9 million in FY 15.

It is important to note that these are by no means the final FY 15 numbers for these agencies and programs. Amendments are expected to be offered when the House Appropriations Committee takes up the bill, perhaps next week. In addition, the Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to consider a FY 15 Interior appropriations bill.