Things do not look good for archives and history related programs. Here is a report from the blog of the National Coalition for History:
The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives today brought to the floor a massive continuing resolution (H.R. 1) that would fund the federal government for the remainder of FY ’11. Agencies and programs important to the history and archival communities, such as Teaching American History Grants, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and others would see their funding slashed or eliminated.
Here is a sample of some of the more draconian cuts:
- Teaching American History Grants—program eliminated; -$119 million
- National Endowment for the Humanities–$22 million cut down to a level of $145 million. Amendments have been filed to further reduce that number or completely eliminate funding for NEH.
- National Historical Publications and Records Commission–$6 million cut down to a level of $4 million. An amendment has been offered to eliminate funding for the NHPRC.
Agencies are currently operating at the FY 2010 funding level. H.R. 1 includes $100 billion in cuts below President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget request, which was never enacted by Congress, and $58 billion in cuts from the current level of spending. Some of the proposed cuts are already in the bill that emerged from the House Appropriations Committee and other programs face cuts or elimination by amendment on the floor.
The current continuing resolution expires on March 4 and Congress must enact either a funding bill that runs through the end of this fiscal year on September 30, or pass another in a series of short-term extensions. To clarify, the proposed budget released by the White House on February 14 is for Fiscal Year 2012 which does not begin until October 1.
The CR is expected to pass the House easily. However, Senate Democrats and the White House have already signaled they will not concur in the deep cuts passed by the House. The threat of a shutdown of the federal government, as occurred during the Clinton administration, remains a real possibility.
I was talking to some students about this last night. The elimination of the Teaching American History grants is a great loss for the American history community. Just when it appeared that history education was making some significant strides, we are now faced with the complete elimination of the program.
Robert Martin says
As I mentioned to folks decrying the defunding of NPR and PBS, you know, I agree that defunding these grants is rather a sad thing. But at the same time, the question comes back “Okay, if not this, what then? What are you willing to sacrifice to keep these grants?”
Fact of the matter is, the government does not have enough money to maintain the current level of spending long term. China is even selling our debt and, the dumb thing is, we're (the US Treasure) buying it from them. This is unsustainable.
Agree, these kinds of grants are a good thing for education, but something need to give somewhere.
Personally, I think there are three REALLY huge budget spending items that, if we pare them back, will yield a much more financially responsible government: Medicare, Social Security, and Defense. But even with severe cut backs to those three, there will still be a deficit that needs to be addressed. So, again, it comes down to what are we willing to sacrifice? Everyone wants to hold on to the things that are special to them (cut Mathematics Education grants?!?!? No WAY!) and no one is willing to sacrifice. Until everyone steps up and decides to give up something, nothing will be given up and we'll just keep on going down this path.