Publication Date

December 1, 1997

Fiscal 1998 Appropriations

Although the appropriations process is not yet over at the time we go to press, there is good news to report on the fiscal 1998 budgets of a number of federal agencies. On October 10 the president signed into law the Treasury Appropriations Bill, which includes the budgets of the NHPRC and the National Archives.

  • National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The fiscal 1998 budget for the grants program of NHPRC is $5.5 million. This is a 10 percent increase over the current amount and a 30 percent increase over the president’s request of $4 million. When NHPRC’s November 1996 proposed strategic plan eliminated documentary editing from those categories of projects slated as a top priority for funding, the historical profession launched a major effort not only to revise the strategic plan but also to increase funding for NHPRC. On both counts the major advocacy effort was successful.
  • National Archives and Records Administration. The fiscal 1998 budget is $205.16 million for the operating budget of the archives, and $14.65 million for repairs and restoration of National Archives’ buildings. These numbers represent a four percent increase for the National Archives’ operating budget.
  • The House and Senate conferees have reconciled their differing versions of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill; however, the conference report has not been completed and thus neither house has yet voted on the bill's final version. But it appears likely that the negotiated conference budget figures will not change.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities. The conferees agreed to a fiscal 1998 budget of $110.7 million, a small increase over this year’s $110 million. The big news this year is the survival of the National Endowment for the Arts. The House of Representatives’ Interior Appropriations report called for the elimination of the NEA in fiscal 1998 and the elimination of the NEH in fiscal 1999. Many scholars have viewed the NEA as a firewall protecting the NEH. The fact that the NEA came out of this year’s appropriation process with strong support in the Senate to counter the negative forces in the House was very encouraging. The NEA’s budget was cut by only $1.5 million.
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The conferees agreed to a fiscal 1998 budget of $5.8 million. The House appropriation bill included only $1 million in fiscal 1998 for the Wilson Center, while the Senate bill allocated the current funding level of $5.8 million. A bipartisan group of representatives wrote the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee and stated that: “Rather than forcing the Center to close, we believe Congress should work with the Center to help this living memorial to President Wilson reach its full potential.” The letter urged the House conferees to accept the Senate appropriation of $5.8 million, which they did.
  • Historic Preservation. The conferees agreed to fiscal 1998 budgets for historic preservation that are at approximately the same funding levels as 1997.
  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services. The conferees adopted a fiscal 1998 budget for the museum component of the institute of $23.39 million, which is $1.1 million more than its current level.
  • The Smithsonian. The conferees agreed to a total fiscal 1998 budget of $402 million, up from this year’s $372 million. The Smithsonian budget is broken down into a number of categories: $333.5 million for operating expenses, $32 million for repairs and restorations, $3.8 million for new construction at the Zoo, $4 million for a new Air and Space facility near Dulles Airport, and $29 million for the construction of the new National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall (this will provide half of the total cost of the new museum),
  • Congress is in the midst of selecting the conferees to serve on the House/Senate Conference Committee for the Commerce, justice, State, and judiciary and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, which includes funding for the U.S. Information Agency and the Fulbright Exchange Program.
  • Fulbright Exchange Program. The House bill calls for $94.24 million, while the Senate calls for $99.24 million. The conferees will reconcile these amounts.

New Head for Archives' Policy and Communications Staff

On September 18 U.S. Archivist john Carlin announced that Jerry George would be leaving his position as executive director of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to become director of the National Archives' Policy and Communications Staff, a position that Deputy Archivist Lew Bellardo had been filling in an acting capacity. Carlin noted George's qualifications for this position and stated that George's move, which occurred on October 1, "will have the further advantage of freeing Deputy Archivist Lew Bellardo to devote more time to helping me deal with major issues confronting NARA."

Carlin has asked Roger Bruns, who is currently on the communications staff, to serve as acting executive director of NHPRC. For many years Bruns served as a deputy executive director of the NHPRC and is very familiar with NHPRC's operations. The commission of NHPRC will, according to statute, choose a successor to Jerry George. Their next meeting is in November.

Gerald Haines to Head CIA Historical Office

On October 14 Gerald Haines will become the chief of the CIA His tory Office and the agency historian. He will replace Kay Oliver, who recently retired. Haines worked at the National Archives in the 1970s and in the 1980s worked at the National Security Agency before going to CIA in 1989. He is currently the historian for the National Reconnaissance Office. Haines, an active member of the historical profession, having served as a past president of the Society for History in the Federal Government, has extensive experience within the intelligence community as well as within the broader archival and historical communities.

Center of Military History to Retain Direct Relationship to Pentagon Headquarters Staff

In September the Army's leadership formally notified the Center of Military History that it will remain on the Army staff, reporting to the Director of Army staff instead of reporting to the Army War College. In 1996, as part of the Army's reorganization, the center was slated to begin reporting on October 1, 1997, to the Army War College, located at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. The Department of the Army Historical Advisory Committee had argued strongly that this relocation would "do irreparable damage to the Army's historical program." They noted that for the center to perform the broad function assigned to it as the storehouse of corporate memory and the provider of key information, the center must remain close to the chief of staff and the Army staff.

Update on Copyright

Hearings were held on September 16 and 17 by the House judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, chaired by Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) for the purpose of considering HR 2281, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Treaties Implementation Act, and HR 2180, the Online Copyright Liability Limitation Act. Most of the members of the subcommittee attended at least portions of the hearing and engaged in very focused and intense debate with the witnesses, who included representatives of telephone, software, hardware, service provider, motion picture, publishing and recording companies, and associations as well as musicians, librarians, and university administrators. Rep. Coble said that these bills were starting points for considering these issues and that the purpose of the hearing was to learn and listen. The members' questions clearly reflected the desire to seek clarification and to gain greater knowledge of these complex issues.

The first day focused primarily on the online liability legislation. The positions of the 14 witnesses varied from strong support for HR 2180, a desire to make the legislation stronger, conviction that such legislation is not needed, to caution that any act in this area must be taken with careful consideration. Although Marybeth Peters, the register of copyrights, supported the bill, noting that it was an improvement over earlier versions, Bruce Lehman, the assistant secretary of commerce and the commissioner of patents and trademarks, said that he did not have a solution to put forward to resolve the dispute between the content and service providers and that such legislation was not necessary at this time. The second day of the hearing focused on HR 2281, the WIPO treaty implementation legislation. The 10 witnesses were fairly evenly divided between those who supported the bill and those who either opposed it or had major problems with key sections.

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