House Oversight Committee Clears Bill to Reauthorize the NHPRC

On June 12, the House Oversight and Reform Committee marked up HR 2978, the “National Historical Publications and Records Commission Reauthorization Act.” The bill would reauthorize the NHPRC at a level of $15 million from fiscal year 2020 to 2025. This is a major accomplishment since NCH has been working for ten years to get the NHPRC reauthorized. Click here to see NCH’s letter in support of the NHPRC.

The vote was 21-14. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), an original cosponsor, was the only Republican who supported the bill. The bill also provides a designated seat for the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) on the NHPRC. CoSA is a member of NCH.

From 1991 thru 2009, Congress authorized the NHPRC at $10 million. Although the NHPRC’s authorization lapsed in 2009, Congress has continued to fund the program albeit at a modest level. Accounting for inflation alone, $10 million in 1991 is equivalent to $18.7 million today. So $15 million is a modest increase when one factors that into the requested authorization level.

During the markup Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) objected to the level of the increase. He suggested since the NHPRC has been funded at $6 million the past few years that the authorization level should be $7 million. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) noted the reason the NHPRC funding has been so small is precisely because it does not have an authorization.