SIGN ON DEADLINE 3/21/23
FY23 Co-Signers: Reps. Beyer, Blunt Rochester, Boyle, Brown, Brownley, Bustos, Carson, Cohen, Connolly, Courtney, Davids, Davis, Dean, Dingell, Foster, Jayapal, Johnson, Keating, Levin, McGovern, Norton, Panetta, Pappas, Pascrell, Raskin, Schakowsky, Suozzi, Veasey, Welch
Quill Sign-On Link
I invite you to join me in sending a letter to appropriators urging adequate funding for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in FY24.
NARA's core function is to preserve and make accessible federal government and historical records. The National Archives now has over 40 facilities nationwide including its main facilities in Washington, D.C. and College Park, Maryland, and 14 Presidential Libraries. NARA is also responsible for the Federal Register and the NHPRC, which provides grants for the creation of documentary collections (books and electronic) of the papers of nationally significant individuals and institutions.
NARA faces enormous challenges. For example, as of September there was a backlog of nearly 440,000 requests for veterans' records at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, on December 31, 2022, NARA implemented a new policy that requires federal agencies to submit all records to NARA in electronic form; paper records are no longer accepted. This major policy shift requires increased funding to make that transition. NARA has also committed itself by FY 2026 to digitize 500 million pages of records and make them available online to the public through the National Archives Catalog.
It is crucial now more than ever that Congress appropriates the President's full funding request of $443.2 million for the agency's operating expenses and that NHPRC be funded at $10 million. This is an essentially flat budget that covers the cost of the 5.2 percent increase in federal salaries and inflationary increases to facility operations and other non-labor costs.
In addition to distributing grants across the country the leverage private funds, NHPRC supports grants that tackle major archival issues, such as preservation of electronic records, disaster preparedness, and coordination and communication among archivists nationwide.
As Members of Congress, we must support historic preservation and open access to public records. To join this letter, please sign on via Quill by Tuesday, 3/21/23.
John B. Larson
Member of Congress