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LEGISLATIVE, POLICY, ORGANIZATIONAL
ISSUES FOR FY 2005 (Board Approved 1/8/2005 )

 PART I -- LEGISLATIVE ISSUES

APPROPRIATIONS:

National Endowment for the Humanities/IMLS (Interior and Related Agencies)
For several years now, Congress has opted to modestly boost funding for the NEH, however, the agency's budget is still down from the FY 1995 appropriation high of $177 million. Beginning in FY 2001, the NEH budget has realized annual increases of approximately $5 million. In FY 2004, with the expansion of the history-based “We the People” initiative the endowment has seen slightly larger increases. In FY 2005, for example, the endowment was allotted $138.06 million, up slightly from FY 2004 which was $135.30 million. During FY 2006, the NEH will celebrate it's 40 th anniversary. This provides a unique opportunity to draw attention to the needs and benefits of the endowment to the American public.

Action Items : The NCH will continue to work in partnership with various humanities groups including the National Humanities Alliance and the Federation of State Humanities Councils in the FY 2006 appropriation effort. To this end, the NCH will participate in both the National Humanities Alliance's “Humanities Advocacy Day” and the Federation of State Humanities Council's “Humanities on the Hill” events. The history coalition will also assist in the development of the proposed humanities caucus that is anticipated to be launched by a bi-partisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

In addition, as the history coalition did in FY-2003 in the successful effort to reauthorize the IMLS, the NCH will continue to participate in coalitions seeking to increase the appropriations for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

National Archives and NHPRC (Treasury Department):
In FY 2003, due to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, Congress shuffled budgetary responsibilities to new House and Senate appropriation subcommittees. In October 2003 the NCH coordinated a series of Hill visits to acquaint new budget staff in the Transportation Committee with the interests of the archival and history communities; the effort proved remarkably successful, especially in providing funding for the Electronic Records Archives and in providing full-funding ($10 million) for the National Historical Publications and Records Administration (NHPRC) .

Action Item: In early FY 2005, the NCH will repeat this targeted effort by coordinating meetings between representatives of history coalition and key members and staff of the House and Senate appropriations committees.

In FY 2004, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) was reauthorized at $10 million (P.L. 108-383) and Congress appropriated the full amount. In FY 2005, however, that number was cut in half. In the FY 2006 budget, as the federal deficit continues to grow and funding for discretionary domestic programs becomes squeezed, realizing the full authorization of $10 million for the NHPRC is expected to prove extremely challenging.

Action Item: In early February, 2005, the President will announce his proposed operating budget for NARA and the NHPRC. As we did in FY 2003 and 2004, the NCH's effort will concentrate on the $10 million line-item for the NHPRC. To this end, a concerted effort will be orchestrated by the historical, archival and humanities communities to see that the NHPRC again is fully authorized level at $10 million.

Library of Congress/GPO (Legislative Branch)
Included in the legislative branch appropriations is the annual funding package for the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress (LC), and the Copyright Office. In FY 2005 Congress approved a net appropriation to the LC of $544 million an increase of $21 million over FY 2004, but still below the request by $17 million.

Action Item: Funding for the Library of Congress in FY 2006 will continue to be a concern of the NCH though it is unlikely we will specifically advocate on behalf of the library's budget. The NCH will continue to monitor specific issues of interest to historians and archivists such as the integration of the Library's computer system, electronic records, digitization, and reference services.

Action Item: Should the Librarian of Congress retire this year as some expect, the history coalition will play an active role in the selection of a successor, much like it did in the selection of a new Archivist of the United States .

National Park Service/ (Interior and Related Agencies)
The quality of historical research on which historic preservation, interpretive programs and scholarly research rest in a variety of Department of the Interior bureaus continues to be a concern of the NCH. In 2003, the NCH joined the “Americans for National Parks” coalition, a group that seeks to boost federal spending on national parks (mostly to meet a multi-million dollar backlog in maintenance needs -- needs that disproportionately affect historic sites and structures)

In FY 2004, the “Save America's Treasures” program was funded at $32.8 million, an increase of $3 million over FY 2003. In FY 2005, though, the program was pegged at just under $30 million. The Historic Preservation Fund was funded at $72.750 million that included $36 million for the State grant program.

Action Item: The NCH will continue to work in partnership with the “Americans for National Parks” coalition in its effort to address the backlog of maintenance needs of the national park system. In addition, the NCH will work in partnership with other members of the historic preservation community including the Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) to provide adequate funding for the “Save America's Treasures” program and the Historic Preservation Fund.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars assists scholars in the social sciences and humanities. It communicates the results of research to a wide audience through publications, conferences and fellowships. In FY 2004, the NCH began working closer with the Wilson Center in assessing and advocating for funding. Over the years, the budget for the Wilson Center has remained fairly stable. In FY 2004 and FY 2005 the Administration's request of approximately $8.987 million has been agreed to by the House and Senate.

Action Item: The NCH will continue to actively monitor, and if deemed necessary weigh in with various Congressional committees on the funding needs of the Wilson Center .

Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education
In 2006, the “Teaching American History” grants initiative which is authorized in the “No Child Left Behind” education bill (P.L. 107-110), enters its fifth year of existence. In both FY 2004 and FY 2005, approximately $120 million for history education was appropriated. Though Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) remains as Ranking Minority on the Senate Appropriations Committee in the 109 th Congress, in FY 2006 it will be especially important to strengthen the ties between the historical community, the House and Senate Appropriation Committee members on both sides of the aisle, the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Department of Education.

Action Item: The NCH and its partners will once again work to see that $120 million continues to be channeled to the ED for the “Teaching American History” initiative. In addition, the FY 2006 budget is likely to provide opportunities to expand history education related spending to the NEH “We the People” initiative and possibly to the teaching of world history. There may also be an opportunity to re-channel some ED funds to national organizations rather than see all the funds channeled to Local Education Agencies (LEAs).

Action Item: With changes in leadership at the top of the ED, the NCH will renew its effort to establish an official DOE liaison with the historical community.

 

OTHER ISSUES OF CONCERN:

Orientation for New Archivist
The National Coalition for History has played an important role in coordinating efforts of the historical and archival community in the selection of a new Archivist of the United States . When Allen Weinstein's name was advanced to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs to replace John Carlin, the history coalition worked with committee staff to insure that the nomination process was not subverted.

Action Item: Allen Weinstein is expected to take office early in calendar 2005. The history coalition has established a warm relationship with the new archivist and will continue to meet with, advise, and facilitate meetings and communications between him, his key staff, and member organizations of the history coalition. The history coalition will also continue to press the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee to conduct oversight hearings into the programs and operations of NARA so as to insure that the new archivist and Congress have a better idea of the contemporary needs of NARA .

 State Budget Crisis / Formula Grants for Museums and Archives
In recent years, the crisis in state funding of heritage-related activities reached a critical point in several states.

Action Item : The NCH will continue to monitor, report, and suggest action by member organizations to counter the budget crisis in individual states on a case by case basis, consistent with the NCH Strategic Plan. Through effective use of the CAP-WIZ program member organizations will be able to mobilize as needed to address their budgetary needs.

In 2004 history coalition member the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) initiated a multi-year national conversation to come up with a new state-based federal formula grant program to support history related institutions. The “Taking Care of Our Heritage Coalition” seeks to create a state-based formula grant program to support all museums and archives. While the AASLH is providing leadership for the entire effort, another history coalition member, the Council of State Historic Records Coordinators (COSHRC), is leading the effort to create a state-based grant program focusing on the needs of state archival organizations.

Action Item: The NCH will continue to actively participate in the activities of the coalition and will support, advocate, and work toward the establishment of a state based formula grant program for history and archives.

 Presidential Records Executive Order / Reagan and Bush Library Releases
On 1 November 2001 President Bush issued Executive Order 13233 entitled, “Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act.” The order replaces President Reagan's Executive Order 12667 (issued January 18, 1989) and reinterprets aspects of the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (PRA) and reverses the very premise of public access built into PRA which provides for the systematic release of presidential records after 12 years or by way of a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request. Since then, the NCH, along with several history coalition members, hav, filed suit in a federal court in Washington , D.C. seeking to overturn the Bush executive order. The coalition has also supported efforts by members of Congress to enact legislation to nullify the Bush EO.

Action Item: While legislative initiatives are currently not expected to be even offered in the 109 th Congress, the NCH will continue working with the lawsuit plaintiffs and a number of coalitions to see that either the legal challenge or legislation is enacted that negates offensive aspects of the order.

In January 2005 the George Bush Presidential Library is slotted to begin releasing certain presidential documents scheduled to be opened to the public in accordance with the PRA.

Action Item: The history coalition will monitor, and, through the NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE, report on NARA 's effort to provide the systematic release of presidential documents at the Bush Library (especially P-5 confidential records). The NCH will also continue to monitor progress in the release of documents at the Reagan presidential library.

Nixon Library Affiliation with NARA
During the 108 th Congress, efforts by the Nixon Library and Birthplace (presently a private institution) were initiated to become a full-fledged NARA presidential library. As a result legislation was enacted in FY 2004 making it possible to eventually consolidate all the Nixon presidential records currently located in a NARA facility in Washington D.C. to a new NARA based facility in Yorba Linda California . A rider to the Ominbus Appropriations Act of 2005 provided federal assistance for the planning of the new facility (an apparent violation of the Presidential Library Act). Of central concern to the history coalition is continuation of the processing of the Nixon materials and to insure that the Nixon papers and records are opened for scholarly purposes in a timely manner.

Action Item: The NCH will work with NARA in ongoing discussions with the Nixon Foundation regarding the Library's agreement with NARA and its desire for affiliation and timely release of relevant presidential records.

Declassification of Historical Federal Records / FOIA / and the “Moynihan” Board
The NCH has long supported continued vigilance and active monitoring and when necessary action to insure federal government implementation of other legislative and policy strategies designed to encourage openness. In 2004 the history coalition became a founding member of the “OpentheGovernment.org” coalition which seeks “to advance the public's right to know and reduce secrecy in government.”

Action Item: The history coalition will continue to support efforts by historians and scholars in whatever form their actions it may take (FOIA, legal challenges etc.) to promote government openness and access to historical records. Staff will continue to monitor the activities of the State Department's Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, the Department of Defense Historical Records Declassification Advisory Panel, and the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress.

Back in the 106 th Congress, the Public Access Declassification Board, (Moynihan Declassification Board) was authorized under Title 7, Section 703 of P.L. 106-567. For three years the NCH actively encouraged administration officials to launch the board. In late 2004 presidential appointments were finally announced though the board was slotted to sunset in December 2004. In part because of the efforts of the NCH, during consideration of the Intelligence reform bill , Congress reconfigured the declassification board into the Independent National Security Classification Board. While the current legislative effort falls short of an fully independent declassification review board that can force the release of documents, it is a step in the right direction.

 Action Item: The NCH will monitor and when appropriate engage the Administration in various initiatives to grant the board additional document review and declassification powers. As in the past, the NCH will recommend potential board members who could represent the House and Senate on the PIDB.

Document Retrieval and Replevin
Since 2003 the NCH has monitored various on-line auction sites for stolen artifacts and manuscript materials. In FY 2003 the NCH was responsible for reporting stolen artifacts at the Custer National Battlefield and stolen manuscript material from the FDR Presidential Library. In FY 2004 the NCH actively worked to see legislation enacted (P.L. 108-383) that would enable NARA to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the NCH and make a discretionary grant to have the NCH systematically monitor the tope 100 internet auction sites for stolen documents. That proposal was approved by NARA in December 2004.

Action Item: The NCH continues to work with Department of Justice and Homeland Security law enforcement officers in the recovery of stolen archival materials and will enter into a MOU with the NARA to monitor and report stolen documents. The NCH will also continue to work with NARA , the Advisory Board on the Records of Congress, and several institutional supporters on various replevin related program activities. During the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, the NCH will coordinate a Presidential Session entitled, “Stolen Public Records: Challenges in Archival Theft, Institutional Acquisition, and Reacquisition.”

Smithsonian Institution
Ever since the appointment of Lawrence Small as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the institution has been embroiled in a number of controversies relating to donor recognition, donor influence on exhibitions, the reorganization of the research function within the institution, and the Secretary's ability to manage the institution effectively.

Action Item: The NCH will continue to monitor developments in the SI, work with interested press and through the NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE, continue to keep readers informed about developments at the various SI museums as the year unfolds.

National History Center : The American Historical Association (AHA) has been working toward the creation of a National History Center .

Action Item: The NCH Executive Director sits on the planning committee for the History Center and will strive to continue to support this initiative and assist by taking appropriate actions to advance the center's objectives.

 

History Classification Standards Rewrite: It has now been over 40 years since the Office of Personnel Management revised the qualifications standards for the history profession (series GS-170). In 2002, the NCH wrote to the new Director of the OPM, Kay Coles James, asking when the reassessment mandated by the 1992 revision to the National Historic Preservation Act would be initiated. Coles expressed OPM's view that there was no need to revise the standards. Coles, a history major from Hampton University , was however, most interested in the NCH and left the door open for further discussion. In FY 2003, the NCH compiled suggestions for needed revisions.

Action Item: In FY 2005, in cooperation with several NCH member organizations, the NCH will continue to pursue efforts to revise the standards.

 Human Subjects Review and Oral History
For several years the NCH has supported the activities of the American Historical Association (AHA) and the Oral History Association (OHA) in their ongoing effort to negotiate an agreement with the federal Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) to exclude oral history from regulatory oversight and review by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs).

Action Item: The NCH will continue to provide assistance as requested to clarify the OHRP's position on oral history.

Outsourcing of Federal Positions
In FY 2003 the Bush administration began actively promoting its program to privatize large segments of the federal workforce including cultural resource management professionals, historians, librarians, and archivists. In FY 2003 the NCH working in partnership with other history-based organizations successfully killed a proposal to contract out the Center for Military History. In FY 2004, NCH staff engaged the National Park Service (NPS) outsourcing officials to see that history and other history/archival positions were classified as “core mission” and exempted from assessment.

Action Item: The NCH will continue to monitor developments in the government-wide A-76 outsourcing effort, work with members of Congress and other organizations and when necessary take appropriate action to act on A-76 proposals that are detrimental to the history and archive communities.

Historian of the House / History of the House of Representatives
In 1995, the House established a Legislative Resource Center under the Clerk of the House. Several years later, the Clerk hired the initial staff and created the Office of History and Preservation but until recently the “Historian of the House” position has remained vacant. In 2004 the position was advertized, then when the pool of applicants was deemed too small, re-advertised the position. With the assistance of the posting in the NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE a sufficient number of applicants applied for the position. Speaker Hastert (R-IL) is expected to fill the position in early 2005.

Action Item: The NCH continues to work with the Clerk of the House, the Speaker's office and constituent historians to see this important position filled.

Professor Robert Remini continues to write the official legislatively mandated “History of the House of Representatives.” The NCH continues to be in contact with Professor Remini and assists him as requested.

Action Item: The NCH will continue its association with Professor Remini regarding his House history project and will continue to provide assistance.

Copyright and E-government Issues
The National Humanities Alliance and the library community continue to actively monitor and report on various developments in the realm of copyright and intellectual property right issues. The NCH is a member of several working groups focusing on these issues.

Action Item: The NCH will continue to monitor and report on copyright issues relevant to the history and archival communities. It will continue to work in partnership with the National Humanities Alliance Intellectual Property Committee, the American Library Association and other organizations on pending legislative measures and court cases.


SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS
During the 108 th Congress, the NCH monitored over 100 bills that were of potential interest to the historical and archival communities. The NCH continues to actively work on authorizing legislation relating to National Historic Landmark "theme studies," (i.e. Cold War resources, Reconstruction theme studies), proposed historic site/park measures, programmatic reauthorizations (i.e. Higher Education Act), education funding initiatives (i.e. American History and Civics Education Act), and other special legislative initiatives benefitting archives, historic sites, library and museum activities (i.e. Presidential Sites Improvement Act). The NCH also monitors and (to one extent or another) devotes time to all bills impacting the archival and history communities.

Action Item: As it has in the past, the NCH will continue to work in conjunction with appropriate Hill staff and NCH member organizations on specific legislative issues of key concern to both the historical and archival communities. The NCH will actively work to help shape and in some cases see enacted: the SAFETEA Transportation Act and Higher Education Act reauthorization, the Graduate Opportunities in Higher Education Act, Higher Education for Freedom Act, Presidential Sites Improvement Act, as well as any revisions to the “Teaching American History” and “We the People” initiatives.

 

CONFERENCES AND SEMINARS
In recent years the NCH has sponsored or co-sponsored a number of workshops and conferences. In 2002, a “Historians on the Hill” workshop was held during the OAH annual meeting in Washington D.C. In September 2003, the NCH co-sponsored “Cold War Memory: Interpreting The Physical Legacy of the Cold War” with the Wilson International Center for Scholars. In January 2004, the NCH sponsored a brown-bag lunch session at the AHA annual meeting in Washington D.C. entitled “ The Bush Administration and Federal History Programs; What's In Store for the Future.” In September 2004 the NCH co-sponsored with the German Historical Institute a conference entitled, “Access, Presentation, Memory: The American Presidential Libraries and Memorial Foundations of German Politicians” in Washington D.C. that brought together presidential library foundation staff from American and German institutions.

Action Item: In January 2005, during the annual meeting of the American Historical Association the NCH will be coordinating a presidential session on archives and stolen documents. The NCH continues to be interested in working in cooperation with the National Park Service and the National Council on Public History, on a “Contested History” conference designed to develop collegial relationships between historians and journalists. (No date for the conference has been scheduled).

 

Issuing History Seminar Series
In cooperation with the National History Center and several historical organizations including the AHA and OAH, the NCH will support efforts now being coordinated through the National History Center to plan and launch a periodic seminar series targeted to Congressional members and staff that brings a historical perspective to contemporary policy issues.

Action Item: The first such seminar will be launched in spring 2005.

LEGAL ACTION
In the past the NCH has joined in an amicus capacity in several suits against the federal government. However, because of budgetary limitations, the NCH has no money budgeted to help fund legal efforts brought by partners for a variety of purposes. Through its communication tools, the NCH has often supported efforts.

Action Item: The history coalition will continue to monitor and, as resources permit, support efforts to overturn the Executive Order 13233 (PRA); support the Association of American University Presses effort to challenge the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations on publishing challenge aspects of the Patriot Act; support the effort by archivists and to see provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act apply to the Energy Task Force; support the library communities challenge in the case, Faulker v. National Geographic Society.


PART III ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT:

Strategic Plan: Beginning in 2002, aspects of the NCC/NCH Strategic Plan started to be implemented; this process will continue through FY 2005. In FY 2004 the “paperless communications” initiative was advanced; in 2003 a “listserv” comprised of NCH Policy Board members was established and in FY 2004 a master member listserv was launched. In general, the Strategic Plan remains relevant and staff and the Board is moving forward with implementing the remaining aspects of its recommendations. In FY 2005, however, the plan should be reviewed, and a Board committee appointed to review and update it in FY 2006 (April 2006 meeting).

Action Item: In late 2004, the NCH was accepted into the Conservation and Preservation Charities of American Federation (CPCA) and will participate in the FY 2005 Combined Federal Campaign fundrasing drive.

Action Item: The NCH Policy Board will appoint a committee to begin to review the NCH Strategic Plan. Dependent on the outcome of a proposal expected to be advanced by the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) proposing a merger or the NHA and the NCH, the Strategic Plan will be revised as necessary.

Action Item: Staff will continue to focus on recommendations outlined in the “Advocacy” section (i.e. enhanced “partnering” with coalitions, continue NCH Action Alerts, continue to build an “advocacy network” through a new grassroots partnership with the National Humanities Alliance and the Federation of State Humanities Councils). To this end the Cap Wiz program will be launched and costs for the congressional access program shared with the National Humanities Alliance and the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

Action Item: In the realm of “Organizational Development,” staff and the Board will seek to expand the base of institutional supporters, and print an NCH brochure.


PART IV SUPPLEMENTAL ORGANIZATIONAL WORK PLAN
In addition to the Policy Issues goals, in FY 2005 NCH staff and/or Board will:

1. Send out renewal letters and recruitment letters.

2. Initial generic grant application will be drafted.

3. Policy papers will be updated and posted on the new website.

4. A brochure for the NCH will be printed. (Holdover from 2004) -

defer until outcome of merger proposal.

5. Support a full-time summer intern and part-time interns during the Fall

and Spring semesters.

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