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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  June 2006, Week 5

ARCHIVES June 2006, Week 5

Subject:

Help support NARA's budget

From:

Richard Pearce-Moses <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Richard Pearce-Moses <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 30 Jun 2006 14:44:59 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (123 lines)

Folks,

The National Archives is doing a lot of important work -- making our 
profession visible (which gets us public support), tacking problems of 
electronic records (through the Electronic Records Archives program, the 
NHPRC research agenda, and support for the New Skills for a Digital Era 
Colloquium).  Archivist Weinstein has taken special interest in working 
with the profession.  

Now, NARA needs your help.  Just a few days ago, NARA's budget was cut 
another $8 million.  Costs to repair flood damages to Archives I may run $2 
million.  

The budget is in markup in the Senate.  If funded at the current House 
levels, damage to NARA programs could be significant, including cut backs 
in services to the public and to government agencies.

Please call the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to 
your senators. Urge them to speak with Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), Robert 
C. Byrd (D-WV), Christopher Bond (R-MO), and Patty Murray (D-WA) as more 
than any other members of the Senate, they hold NARA’s future in their 
collective hands!  (When you get through, a stock opening line is, "May I 
speak with Senator X or the staff member who handles appropriations?" 
You'll almost certainly get the staffer -- which is a bit less 
intimidating.)

Have a couple of stories of how NARA funds have helped you or your state 
(an NHPRC grant, some program or publication you found useful, the value of 
your state's records that are held by NARA).  Remember, be short, sweet, 
and pleasant.  You don't want to spend more than five minutes, if that.  
You're mostly registering your opinion.  You can always end with a, "Can I 
answer any questions for you or give you more information?" 

It is essential to call before 18 July, and asap is best.

Note, it is important that you call or fax.  Email and regular mail won't 
get through.  A few calls on the same subject are surprisingly effective.  

Some background information from NCH is included below.

Thanks for helping support our colleagues and our friends.

-- Richard Pearce-Moses

BACKGROUND

In last week's NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE we reported on the dire predicament 
confronting the National Archives budget in FY 2007.  We reported that 
there is an operational shortfall of $12 million in the President's 
proposed budget.  On top of that, in a surprise move that took place on the 
floor of the House of Representatives recently, an ADDITIONAL $8 million 
was cut from the NARA budget to help pay for a drug interdiction 
initiative.  In spite of the best efforts of Joseph Knollenberg (R-MI), the 
Chair of the Transportation/Treasury Appropriation Subcommittee that 
oversees NARA's budget (Knollenberg argued in vain to defeat the proposed 
amendment to NARA's budget), a majority of the members of the House -- not 
wanting to appear soft on fighting drugs -- felt obliged to support the 
amendment. 

And now NARA is also dealing with $2 million worth of flood damage at its 
Washington D.C. Main Archives facility. 

Unless the $22 million is added to NARA's base funding by the Senate here 
is what NARA officials may be compelled to do:

         1)  REDUCE RESEARCH ROOM HOURS OF OPERATION -- Research rooms 
throughout the country (including Archives I and II in the District of 
Columbia and College Park, Maryland) would be closed on evenings and 
weekends.  They would be open only 9 AM to 5 PM Monday - Friday throughout 
most of the year.  That means that the 16% of NARA's patrons who use the 
archives in the evenings, and for the 7% of users who conduct research on 
Saturday, will find themselves locked out of NARA's research rooms, 
permanently.

        2) ROTUNDA HOURS REDUCED -- If you are planning a visit to 
Washington D.C. with family or friends and want to view the documents of 
American Freedom (the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and 
Constitution) that are on display at the Main Archives rotunda, be prepared 
to stand in even longer lines as the hours of operation would be reduced 
evenings and weekends. 

         3)  IF YOU ARE A RESEARCHER IN WASHINGTON D.C. -- there will be no 
more door-to-door shuttle service between Main Archives and College Park -- 
you will have to use Metro and a taxi cab to get to your destination.  
Also, expect a raise in the per page photocopying fee in research rooms.  
Oh yes, one last thing – there may be a charge for reference services.

         4)  IF YOU CONDUCT RESEARCH IN A PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY OR A 
REGIONAL ARCHIVES FACILITY -- be prepared to work fewer hours each day as 
research rooms across the county may well be shutting down earlier as 
well.  You also will be paying a higher photo-copying fee.

        5)   IF YOU EVER HAVE MADE USE OF A COMPILATION OF THE PUBLIC 
PAPERS OF A PRESIDENT -- BEGINNING NEXT YEAR THE VOLUMES WON'T BE PRODUCED 
ANY LONGER -- for years NARA has compiled the collected public papers of 
the president (speeches, transcripts of press events etc.) into hardback 
volumes.  No more.

        6) RESEARCH IMPEDED BY NARA EMPLOYEE FURLOUGHS -- Researchers may 
be further inconvenienced if the National Archives has to balance its books 
by cutting employee travel and training, by zeroing out funding for 
overtime and staff bonuses, and by furloughing employees – a very real 
possibility for some NARA staff if Congress does not adopt a budget on or 
before 1 October 2006, when the new federal fiscal year begins.  If 
Congress has not agreed to a budget by then, and if the President has not 
signed a NARA appropriation for FY 2007, Congress will be forced to adopt a 
Continuing Resolution (CR).  NARA will have no alternative but to use in 
the CR the House recommended appropriation level as the new temporary base 
for NARA’s operations.  Bottom line, NARA cannot absorb a $20 million cut w
without furloughing some employees. 

A posting from the Archives & Archivists LISTSERV List sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, www.archivists.org.
For the terms of participation, please refer to http://www.archivists.org/listservs/arch_listserv_terms.asp.

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