Senate Appropriations Committee FY 20 Funding Bill for the National Archives Would Eliminate NHPRC

On September 19, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up the Fiscal Year 2020 Financial Services and General Government (FS&GG) bill that provides funding for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The bill includes more funding for NARA than the bill that passed the House in June. Unfortunately, it includes no funding for the NHPRC.

The House has passed a continuing resolution that will temporarily fund the federal government from the start of the new fiscal year on October 1 until November 21. The Senate is expected to follow suit next week. Federal agencies will continue to operate at the FY 19 level until a FY 20 budget is passed.


NARA Operating Expenses

The Senate includes more funding for NARA’s operating expenses (OE) than the House. The Senate bill provides $363 million while the House bill reduces NARA’s OE budget to $354.7 million, an $8.3 million difference. The FY 19 OE budget for NARA was $373 million. So either way, NARA will likely see its operations budget decline in FY 20.

Both the House and Senate FY 20 bills include $22 million for the repair and alteration of the National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland to enhance the Federal Government’s ability to electronically preserve, manage, and store Government records. The project is needed to implement NARA’s recently announced directive that all Federal agencies must transfer permanent records to NARA in electronic formats after December 31, 2022.

The House FY 20 bill includes $4.1 million to implement the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2018. The Senate only provides $1 million for the initiative. A conference committee will need to resolve the discrepancy.


FY 19: $373 million

Trump FY 20 request: $345.6 million

House FY 20: $354.7 million

Senate FY 20: $363 million



Having funding for the NHPRC eliminated in the Senate bill is certainly a setback. However the FY 20 appropriations process still has a long way to go. While the House passed its FY 20 FS&GG bill in June, the Senate bill still needs to go to the floor and then to a House-Senate conference committee.

The House provided $7 million for the NHPRC in its FY 20 bill, a $1 million increase over the previous year. So if the House and Senate FS&GG bills ever go to a conference committee, the likelihood is the House would not agree to shut down the NHPRC.


FY 19: $6 million

Trump FY 20 request: $0

House FY 20: $7 million

Senate FY 20: $0