I emailed my representative, David Price, about the PAHR bill before the House a couple of months ago, and he finally responded to me today. He basically says that the much of the records are held on the state level, the NHPRC gives out grants to states, he likes the NHPRC, but won’t commit to supporting PAHR. He wants some sort of new state-based program, and he’ll “consider it carefully” when it comes up for a vote.
Its seems like what PAHR is going for is a state based solution: the states have to pay a 50% cost share to get money from this new grant funding agency. I guess what he wants is the states to pay for 100% of it and have NHPRC be the only national funding agency. With all the money thrown around in the past couple of years, whats another $50 million, which is far less than one-tenth of one percent of the national budget for last year. I’m glad we’ve gotten to 50 co-sponsors, and maybe we’ll soon have some debate and even a vote on it.
Full email from David Price after the fold.
Dear Mr. Bromley:
Thank you for contacting me in support of H.R. 2256, the Preserving the American Historical Record Act. It is good to hear from you.
Our federal government has recognized the importance of preserving federal documents, archives and history by supporting national institutions such as the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution. However, much of the American record – including evidence of births, education, marriage (and divorce), property owned, obligations satisfied and criminal conduct – is held at the state and local level. Unfortunately, the state and local agencies and organizations that manage these historical records face many challenges, and resources are needed to ensure that these collections are cared for and available to future generations.
H.R. 2256 would authorize $50 million per year for five years to establish a new federal grant program, which would increase federal support for state and local archival records held by government agencies, historical societies, libraries, and related organizations. The bill would provide each state with a portion of these funds for redistribution to organizations within its borders, provided that the state meets a 50 percent cost-share requirement.
As you may know, this new grant program would be in addition to the existing national grants program within the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). I have long been a supporter of the NHPRC program. NHPRC is the only grant-making organization, public or private, whose mission it is to publish the papers of significant figures and themes in American history. Without NHPRC grants, the process of documentary publication projects of national significance will be slowed, or even halted altogether. The NHPRC already has a program that makes grants to states for regrants within the state; but a new state-based program could alleviate some of the demand on NHPRC’s national level project money by providing regrants administered regionally, and could open wider opportunities for new and expanded varieties of nationally significant projects.
H.R. 6056 [PAHR’s number in the last Congress] has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for consideration. Should this bill come before the full House for a vote, I will consider it carefully, keeping your support in mind. Again, thank you for contacting me. Please continue to keep in touch on issues of concern.
Member of Congress