July 16, 1998
Senate Panel Approves Budget Increase for National Archives and Records Administration
Washington, D.C. -- The Senate Appropriations Committee, like the House Appropriations Committee earlier, has recommended a funding increase for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for Fiscal Year 1999.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $221,030,000 for NARA’s operating expenses ($4,277,000 more than the House committee approved), plus $11,325,000 for facility repairs and restorations ($875,000 more than the House committee approved), although a portion of the Senate appropriation would not become available until the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 1999.
Additionally, under the Senate bill, NARA would be eligible to receive funds from an appropriation to OMB for work converting computer programs to handle the change to the year 2000. And the Senate bill calls for $11,000,000 for grants made by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, which NARA administers. The Senate NHPRC figure exceeds the House Committee figure by $5,000,000, which is earmarked for a directed grant to the Center for Jewish History.
The additional $875,000 in the facility repairs and restorations category in the Senate bill is to be used to determine space needs for NARA’s operations in Anchorage, Alaska, and begin the design process on either an expanded or new facility. This action, assuming it is part of the final legislation (it was not in the President’s request or the House bill), means that the study NARA currently is conducting of our space needs overall will include provision for retaining a facility in Alaska, which would be appropriate given that state’s great distance from "the lower 48" and the heavy involvement and impact of the Federal Government there.
The increased appropriations in both the Senate and House bills, though not quite as much as President Clinton had requested, would enable NARA to take additional steps toward preserving electronic records, improving government records management, expanding public access to records, launching a reimbursable records-center program, re-encasing the nation’s Charters of Freedom on display in the rotunda of our original building, and beginning the design of the renovation of that building.
Additionally, on top of the directed grant in the Senate bill, both bills would give the NHPRC $500,000 more than in Fiscal Year 1998 for competitively awarded grants for documentary preservation and publication.
If the full Senate and the full House approve the bills recommended by their respective appropriations committees, differences will need to be worked out in a House-Senate conference committee. Then the Senate and House both will need to approve the compromise before the bill goes to the President for signature.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.