July 31, 2000
Congress Makes Progress On NARA's FY 2001 Budget
Congress will take final action sometime after its August recess on legislation containing appropriations for Fiscal Year 2001 for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Though a flurry of procedural activity last week did not produce a final bill, and left unclear what the final outcome will be, the legislation has moved in both houses.
The Appropriations Committee of the U.S. Senate has approved the full amount requested by the President for operating expenses for the National Archives and Records Administration for Fiscal Year 2001. This followed earlier action by the House of Representatives as a whole to appropriate $195,119,000 of the $209,393,000 requested by the President for NARA's operating expenses, a reduction of less than 7 percent, but 8.6 percent more than NARA's operating-expense appropriation for Fiscal Year 2000.
Additionally, the Senate appropriation bill contains $4,950,000 for "repairs and restoration" of NARA facilities, to which the House bill adds $700,000 for improvements at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. However, neither house approved the $6,610,000 requested by the President for repairs at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
Moreover, the House bill does not contain the $88,000,000 requested for FY 2001 by the President for the renovation of the aging National Archives Building in Washington, DC, where preparatory work is already under way with funds in NARA's FY 2000 appropriation. The Senate bill provides that "to complete renovation of the National Archives Building" $88,000,000 "shall be available for obligation on October 1, 2001."
Last week's lifting of an appropriations cap on this legislation keeps alive the possibility that the renovation money may yet be provided within the 2001 fiscal year, along with funds for the design of a new regional archives building in NARA's Southeast Region.
NARA's annual appropriation additionally includes funding for its grant-making affiliate, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The House approved $6,000,000 for NHPRC's competitive grant program, the amount requested by the President. The Senate added $450,000 for directed grants. In separate legislation, the House approved reauthorizing NHPRC's grant program to receive appropriations up to $10 million annually for FY 2002 through FY 2005. After the recess, we hope the reauthorization legislation will receive consideration by the Senate's Committee on Governmental Affairs.
The President's budget request to Congress for FY 2001 totals $314,953,000 in all accounts combined, a substantial increase, because of the renovation request, from the appropriation of $208,220,000 provided for the current fiscal year. The House bill provides for all accounts a total of $206,769,000 for FY 2001. The Senate bill, including the delayed provision for the renovation money, totals $308,793,000.
Particularly if the Senate version prevails, funding will be available for further progress on initiatives in four major areas under NARA's Strategic Plan:
- improve records management in the Federal Government
- meet special challenges posed by electronic records
- expand public access to records, and
- meet storage and preservation needs of growing quantities of records.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.