Congress Funds NARA at New Level; NHPRC to Receive $7.5 Million

 

November 22, 2005—Congress has passed and President Bush is expected to sign a Fiscal Year 2006 budget of $338,141,000 for the National Archives and Records Administration. The FY 2006 funding is $15,070,000 more than the President's request for NARA for FY 2006 and nearly $20,000,000 greater than the FY 2005 appropriation of $318,720,672.

"I commend the Congress for funding fully the President's request for NARA for 2006," said Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, "especially in light of the federal budget situation."

NARA's budget was part of the Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which cleared Congress late last week.

The measure includes $283,045,000 for basic operating expenses, $37,914,000 for work on the Electronic Records Archives (ERA), $9,682,000 for repairs and renovations at NARA facilities, and $7,500,000 for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

The legislation also authorizes a 3.1 percent pay raise for civilian employees but does not include any additional funds for it. At the same time, congressional leaders are still discussing an across-the-board cut for all departments and agencies for FY 2006 that would be included in another spending bill.

For the ERA, Congress appropriated $37,914,000, of which $22,000,000 will be available through FY 2008 to build the system to preserve and make accessible, into the future, the electronic records of the federal government. This funding level will allow the Archives to continue the development of ERA and lay the groundwork for building the entire system.

The ERA funding also includes $2,000,000 for NARA to begin working with the Naval Oceanographic Office at the National Center for Critical Information Processing and Storage (NCCIPS) at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. NARA will work with the NCCIPS to locate a component of the distributed ERA system there. NARA will locate mirror systems at geographically distant sites to ensure continuing operations in case of local problems or even disasters.

For repairs and renovations at the 15 facilities NARA owns, the FY 2006 appropriations includes $9,682,000. This represents NARA's required base for normal repairs and renovations plus $1,500,000 to contribute to the construction of a new regional archives and records facility in Anchorage, Alaska; $1,000,000 for repair of the plaza at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas; and $1,000,000 for the design of the renovation and expansion of the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

The NHPRC receives $7,500,000 for FY 2006. Of that amount, $2,000,000 will be transferred to the operating expenses appropriation to cover administrative and operating costs. This will leave NHPRC $5,500,000 for grants. "We are especially pleased that NHPRC received adequate funding to continue its grant program," said Weinstein, who is also Chairman of the Commission. "The NHPRC fills a vital role in making grants to preserve non-federal historical records that are important to the American story. Just recently, NHPRC provided grants to the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas to help in recovering and preserving records damaged by the recent hurricanes."

For the Archives' operating expenses, $283,045,000 was provided for agency requirements. Of that amount, $2,000,000 is earmarked for the initial move of records, staffing, and operations of the Nixon Presidential Library, which is scheduled to become part of NARA in 2006. The private Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California, is now being retrofitted to meet NARA standards in preparation for its conversion into a Federally-operated facility.

In its FY 2004 appropriations, Congress agreed to allow Richard M. Nixon's Presidential papers to be stored outside the Washington, D.C., area. The review of Nixon records now under way at the National Archives at College Park will continue until 2008 or 2009, and then those records will be transferred to the library.

Among other items included in the operating expenses appropriations are:

  • $11,261,000 to cover must-fund base increases such as the pay raise, facility and information technology rate changes, utility and guard increases, and financial management service support.
  • $3,353,000 to replace the 11-year-old security system for the National Archives' College Park, Maryland, facility. The new system will use smart chip technology to meet mandated Federal guidelines and standards.
  • $1,076,000 to develop an agency-wide Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) required of all Federal agencies. The resources will be used to hire a director to oversee the agency's COOP requirements, prepare capability assessments for NARA locations, and establish alternate sites for NARA headquarters and the Office of the Federal Register. The Federal Register has the key role to publish emergency regulations regardless of circumstances to ensure the Government's continued operations.
  • $240,000 to meet e-Government reporting requirements. Resources will be used to enhance the Federal Register's publication process and other electronic government requirements.
  • $100,000 to expand the investigative capacity of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). These resources will enable the OIG to hire an additional investigator to assist in researching and retrieving missing or stolen NARA documents.