On December 26, 2007, President Bush signed into law an omnibus funding package (H.R. 2764) that incorporates the eleven fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills for non-Defense Department agencies. The overall total for the bill is $555 billion. Congress passed the bill on December 19.

Here is a summary of FY ’08 funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), which is under the Financial Services and General Government appropriation. Please note that for comparison purposes, the FY ’07 budget number will be included in parentheses after this year’s amount. In addition, report language from the House and Senate Appropriations Committee will be added where appropriate.

Since the Bush administration had proposed eliminating the NHPRC in FY ’08, this increased funding represents a major victory for the advocacy efforts of the historical and archival communities.

  • Total Budget–$9.5 million ($7.5 million)
  • Grants–$7.5 million ($5.5 million)
  • Operating Expenses–$2 million (same as FY ’07)

The Appropriations Committees expressed concern about the length of time it was taking to complete the publication of the Founding Fathers historical papers. They instructed the Archivist to “accelerate the process” for completion of the projects and to develop a plan to make the papers available on-line. The Archivist was given 90 days to report back to the committees.

Funding History
The NHPRC grants program is authorized at $10 million per-year through FY ’09. This small but effective program last received its fully authorized $10 million in FY’ 04. In FY ’08, Congress appropriated $7.5 million for NHPRC grants and $2 million for administrative costs, despite the Administration’s continued efforts to eliminate the program. Unfortunately, cuts of this magnitude, and the uncertainty created by the annual threat of extinction, endanger the programmatic integrity of the NHPRC.

The National Coalition for History believes that $10 million in funding is needed in FY ’09 if the NHPRC is to meet its congressional mandate to provide leadership in preserving our nation’s documentary heritage and to make the most nationally significant part of that heritage accessible through publication. In addition, $2 million in funding is required to maintain the expert staffing and administer this program.

Loss of NHPRC funding to publications and records projects will have a domino effect causing funding from other sources to be withdrawn or reduced—NHPRC grants are the linchpins for the funding structure of most projects and without them that structure will collapse.