In the latest NCH Washington Update, Lee White keeps us abreast of the latest history goings-on in the nation’s capital. Some highlights:
On March 1, 2007, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and the National Archives held a hearing to discuss infamous Executive Order 13233. This order, issued by President Bush in November 2001, gives current and former presidents, vice presidents, and a former president’s family the authority to withhold presidential records from the public virtually indefinitely. At the hearing, representatives from four historical organizations united in opposition to E.O. 13233 – Steven L. Hensen, representing the Society of American Archivists; Anna K. Nelson, representing the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations; Tom Blanton, representing National Security Archive; and Robert Dallek, representing the AHA – testified about the effects the executive order had on the practice of history. Hensen testified that the executive order “compromised the basic principles of government accountability,” and Nelson added that it “negates important parts of [the Presidential Records Act],” which currently governs the disclosure of presidential materials. Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) has introduced a bill that would repeal E.O. 13233 and restrict the use of executive privilege in the release of presidential records.
Also in the NCH Washington Update is a brief story about Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), who was presented the OAH’s “Friend of History” award on March 1. Senator Byrd was recognized for his sponsorship of the “Teaching American History” grants program and for his work on the history of the Senate. The senator, as the reader may recall, was the inaugural winner the AHA’s Roosevelt-Wilson Award in 2003.
Other stories in the NCH Washington Update include a report on a hearing about disclosing funding for presidential libraries, a reminder to register for Humanities Advocacy Day, reports on the National Council for Humanities and the Public Interest Declassification meetings, further information on Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lawrence Small’s spending habits (also discussed on AHA Today here), and other stories.
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
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