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The Rambler :: blog

Friday, September 17, 2004

For my American readers 

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I received the following e-mail today, which will be of interest to my American readers - I attach it below for their benefit. Sadly, as a non-American there's little I can do about this.

FROM: NATIONAL HUMANITIES ALLIANCE

RE: HELP NEEDED TO RESTORE FUNDING FOR THE NATIONAL HISTORICAL
PUBLICATIONS AND RECORDS COMMISSION

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the FY 2005
Transportation/Treasury spending bill yesterday with a level of $3
million for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission
(NHPRC). This represents a $7 million cut over the current fiscal
year's budget. The Senate action follows the President's recommendation
of $3 million, as well as that of the House Appropriations Committee
(which also supported the President's request for severely reduced
funding).

The full Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up next
Tuesday. Calls are needed immediately to Senate Appropriators to raise
the funding level for NHPRC before the bill moves to a House/Senate
conference.


BACKGROUND

Created alongside the National Archives in 1934, the NHPRC is
responsible for state, regional and national projects concerning the
archiving, preservation and creation of documentary materials related to
American heritage. This includes the publication of the papers of
nationally significant individuals and institutions, the preservation of
historical records of enduring value and the creation of projects to
address archival issues nationally and statewide, such as the complex
problem of electronic historical records. Publication projects made
possible by NHPRC support include the papers of Benjamin Franklin,
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gen. George C.
Marshall and Frederick Douglass.

In FY 2004, Congress fully funded the Commission for the first time in
its history, appropriating $10 million and disregarding the
administration's recommended funding level of $5 million. No
administration has ever recommended full funding for NHPRC.

The livelihood and programmatic integrity of the NHPRC are threatened by
the funding cuts, as well as the Commission's recognized ability to
leverage nonfederal dollars to support the nation's documentary
heritage.


WHAT YOU CAN DO

Any individuals or organizations who wish to express their views on this
issue are urged to CALL the offices of Senate Appropriations Committee
members immediately (see attached list of committee members, staff
contacts and phone numbers). Talking points are provided below.

Please pass this information along to your colleagues and urge them to
act!


TALKING POINTS

1. If the President's recommendation of $3 Million is adopted, the very
existence of state and regional activities in planning and implementing
archival programs, already seriously hampered by funding cutbacks in the
states, is imperiled. Without adequate funding, research on the pressing
problem of electronic records will be curtailed, jeopardizing the
preservation of important historical documentation - the raw materials
for historians of the future.

2. The Commission has an excellent record of accomplishment and is seen
as a model federal grants program. For example, following the
disastrous events resulting from the terrorist attack of 9/11, it was
due to a NHPRC grant that New York City archivists and curators had a
disaster preparedness plan in place and were able to cope with and
minimize the detrimental impacts of the World Trade Center collapse on
collections in lower Manhattan.

3. The nation has a duty to document and preserve its history. NHPRC
makes grants each year to institutions across the country to preserve
historical records, publish historical papers and make historical
materials more accessible. The Commission has an outstanding record of
making grants to edit and publish historical documents, to develop
archival programa, to promote the preservation and use of historical
records, to promote regional activities relating to American's
documentary heritage. While the National Archives concentrates on
federal records, the NHPRC helps archivists, documentary editors and
historians by making available non-Federal records of exceptional
historical significance. Books by scholarly and popular authors like
David McCullough's John Adams would not have been possible without the
type of documentary editions that emerge from the NHPRCs work.

4. The public benefits that come from the preservation and
dissemination of documents significant to an understanding of the United
States were most eloquently stated by J. Franklin Jameson, founder of
the National Archives and the NHPRC in a November 30, 1927 memorandum:
"The publication of documentary historical materials is a regular
function of all civilized governments, and it is not likely to be
omitted by an government in which there is any appreciation of how much
historical study does and can do for the promotion of national
patriotism."

5. Documentary editions are used not only by scholars, students and
teachers at every
educational level, but also by documentary film makers and museum
curators. The Internet has literally opened up a new world for the
dissemination of the products of NHPRC funded projects but that
dissemination and truly democratic access to reliable historical sources
will come at a substantial cost.

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE MEMBERS

*Asterisk means that the Senator is on the Transportation, Treasury, and
General Government Subcommittee*

[Republicans]

*Richard C. Shelby - AL - Chair of Subcommittee
Tel: 202-224-7236, Staff Contact: Lula Edwards

Ted Stevens - AK, Chair of Full Appropriations Committee
Tel: 202- 224-3004, Staff Contact: Lisa Sutherland

Thad Cochran - MS
Tel: 202-224-5054, Staff Contact: Clayton Heil

*Arlen Specter - PA
Tel: 202-224-4254, Staff Contact: Mark Carmel

Pete V. Domenici - NM
Tel: 202- 224-6621, Staff Contact: Carol McGuire

*Christopher S. Bond - MO
Tel: 202-224-5721, Staff Contact: Trevor Blocon

Mitch McConnell - KY
Tel: 202-224-2541, Staff Contact: Brit Brooks (Female)

Conrad Burns - MT
Tel: 202-224-2644, Staff Contact: Jarrod Thompson

Judd Gregg - NH
Tel: 202-224-3324, Staff Contact: Erin Rath

*Robert Bennett - UT
Tel: 202-224-5444, Staff Contact: Shawn Parkin

*Ben Nighthorse Campbell - CO
Tel: 202-224-5852, Staff Contact: Brian Feintech

Larry E. Craig - ID
Tel: 202-224-2752, Staff Contact: Daemon Tobias

*Kay Bailey Hutchison - TX
Tel: 202-224-5922, Staff Contact: Jamie Notman (Male)

*Mike DeWine - OH
Tel: 202-224-2315, Staff Contact: Becky Wagner

*Sam Brownback - KS
Tel: 202-224-6521, Staff Contact: Steve Donches


[Democrats]

*Robert C. Byrd - WV - Ranking Member
Tel: 202-224-3954, Staff Contact: Paul Gay

Daniel K. Inouye - HI
Tel: 202-224-3934, Staff Contact: Christen Alston Eads

Ernest F. Hollings - SC
Tel: 202-224-6121, Staff Contact: Julian Norment

Patrick J. Leahy - VT
Tel: 202-224-4242, Staff Contact: Chanda Betourney

Tom Harkin - IA
Tel: 202-224-3254, Staff Contact: Richard Bender

*Barbara A. Mikulski - MD
Tel: 202-224-4654, Staff Contact: Anthony Lawrence

*Harry Reid - NV
Tel: 202-224-3542, Staff Contact: Greg Jaczko

*Herbert H. Kohl - WI
Tel: 202-224-5653, Staff Contact: Molly Harris

*Patty Murray - WA
Tel: 202-224-2621, Staff Contact: Dale Learn

*Byron L. Dorgan - ND
Tel: 202-224-2551, Staff Contact: Nicole Croach, Dafna Peled

Dianne Feinstein - CA
Tel: 202-224-3841, Staff Contact: Chris Thompson

*Richard J. Durbin - IL
Tel: 202-224-2152, Staff Contact: Pat Souders

Tim Johnson [the senator, not me obviously!] - SD
Tel: 202-224-5842, Staff Contact: Matt Thornblad

Mary Landrieu - LA
Tel: 202-224-5824, Staff Contact: Kate Eltrich


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