February 8, 2000
President Proposes Budget Increase for the National
Archives and Records Administration
President Clinton has proposed a budget increase of $77,755,000 for Fiscal Year 2001 that would enable the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to renovate the original National Archives Building in downtown Washington, D.C., and advance 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 improving government records management, the budget requests an addition of $992,000 to extend NARA's Targeted Assistance Program to Federal agencies in more regions of the country as well as in Washington, D.C. Through this partnership program, agencies with particularly severe records management needs receive priority help from NARA.
For meeting electronic records challenges, the budget requests an addition of $902,000 for helping Federal agencies manage electronic records by testing guidance within NARA itself, and for adding three high-level professionals to assist with the development and implementation of an Electronic Records Archives (ERA). With our base funding plus these funds, NARA will continue working towards this ERA within the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure. Through this partnership, the San Diego Supercomputer Center has produced prototype demonstrations for preserving large volumes of electronic records such as email messages in a relatively short time. We now need to continue research toward building an archives that can preserve any kind of electronic record in a format that frees it from the computer system in which it was created, an archives that also can meet requests for that record using a variety of tools available today and advanced technologies that will be developed for tomorrow. All this could be a major breakthrough in NARA's search for a system to accession, preserve, and provide electronic access to electronic records of the Federal Government.
For expanding public access to records, the budget requests an increase of $14,516,000 for the following initiatives:
- Improving reference services for records needed by America's veterans
- Expanding NARA's online offerings via the Internet to customers nationwide
- Upgrading NARA's communications infrastructure to improve service capabilities for customers and staff nationwide
- Meeting requirements of the Administration's records declassification order, and
- Taking custody of and beginning to process the records of the Clinton Administration in compliance with the Presidential Records Act.
For meeting storage and preservation needs of growing quantities of records, the budget requests an increase of $6,528,000 to ensure the survival of veterans' records in jeopardy, make NARA's facilities more secure, and move Administration records into temporary quarters in Little Rock in preparation for the Clinton Presidential Library.
The major increase proposed in the budget is $88,000,000 for the renovation NARA has been preparing of the original National Archives Building, now nearly two-thirds of a century old. The work will include correcting mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire safety deficiencies; retrofitting the Rotunda to display America's Charters of Freedom (the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights) in new encasements currently under preparation; bringing the building into full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; upgrading storage conditions to meet modern archival standards; and providing sufficient exhibit and public-use space to accommodate increasing numbers of visitors.
The budget request to Congress totals $308,343,000 in all accounts. Here is a comparative breakdown for each account:
FY 2000 enacted FY 2001 requested Operating Expenses: $180,042,000 $209,393,000
Facility Repairs and Restorations: $22,296,000 $92,950,000
National Historical Publications and
Records Commission (grants):
Records Center Revolving Fund: $22,000,000 $0
The proposed increase in the account for Facility Repairs and Restorations is large because the FY 2001 budget request includes the $88,000,000 for renovating the National Archives Building. Funds for the NHPRC, the NARA affiliate that makes grants nationwide for records preservation and dissemination, is reduced in the FY 2001 request by the amount of a one-time, directed grant for which last year's budget provided $250,000; funding for the competitive grant program would remain the same at $6,000,000. Similarly, the FY 2001 request does not include $22,000,000 appropriated in the FY 2000 budget as a one-time capitalization of the program NARA launched last October 1 in which Federal agencies reimburse NARA for records center storage and services for records still in the agencies' legal custody.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.