[NCH Senate Appropriations Committee Unveils FY 23 Funding Bills

Dear NCH Member, 

On July 28, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released draft versions of all twelve Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 appropriations bills. The bills were written with no input from the Republican minority on the committee. So, the funding levels can be seen as markers from which lengthy negotiations will begin and likely don’t reflect what we can expect at the end of the budget process in the Senate. Action on the bills is not expected until the fall.

In general, the Senate bills allocate more funding to defense programs and less to discretionary non-defense programs than the House. As a result, most of the funding levels for programs that affect history, archives, humanities, and education are lower in the Senate draft bills than the House versions.

The House has already completed action on half of the twelve FY 23 appropriations bills. These include funding for the National Archives and Records Administration, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, National Endowment for the Humanities, Smithsonian Institution, and National Park Service which contains many history-related programs.

The release of the Senate draft bills is just another milestone in a lengthy convoluted process. Following the August recess, Congress will only be in session a brief time in September before they leave to campaign. With the November mid-term elections looming, it is likely Congress will pass a series of continuing resolutions (CRs) that temporarily fund the federal government after the start of fiscal year 2023 on October 1.

A detailed chart showing the House and Senate draft numbers in comparison to the Biden administration’s FY 23 request and FY 22 funding levels can be accessed by clicking this link.  The chart and a word document version of this story are attached. If you reuse the chart, please cite NCH as the source.

Here are the highlights from the FY 23 Senate appropriations bills as released by the Committee:

  • The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) would receive $420.2 million for Operating Expenses (OE), an increase of $31.9 million from the $388.3 million the agency received in FY 22. By comparison, the House-passed bill provides $427.5 million for NARA’s OE budget.
  • The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) received a $1.35 million increase in basic grant funding up from $7 million to $8.35 million. However, the Senate included an unprecedented $22.44 million in “congressionally-directed spending,” or earmarks, requested by senators for specific projects in their states. By comparison, the House increased NHPRC basic grant funding by $2.5 million, up to a level of $9.5 million. However, House members only added $1.3 million in earmarked projects for a total of $10.8 million for the NHPRC. It remains to be seen whether the Senate earmarks will survive through to the final FY 23 budget.
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) would receive $195 million, $15 million above the FY 22 level of $180 million. However, this amount is $12 million less than the $207 million provided by the House.
  • Library of Congress: The Library of Congress would receive $819.2 million in FY 23, $25.2 million more than this year. The House bill provides $831.4 million.
  • The K-12 history and civics programs at the Department of Education would increase from $7.75 million to $10.5 million under the Senate proposal. Presidential and Congressional Academies for American History and Civics would be cut from $3 million to $1.75 million. However, funding for the American History and Civics grants program would be increased from $4.75 million to $8.75 million. By comparison, the House doubled funding for both programs from $7.75 million in FY 22 up to a level of $15.5 million in FY 23. Note: these programs are unrelated to the Civics Secures Democracy Act, the multi-billion K-12 history and civics authorization legislation we are still advocating to get passed this session.
  • The Title VI/Fulbright-Hays International Education programs would receive a $5 million increase up to $86.6 million. Title VI-A&B (domestic programs) would increase by $4.5 million up to $76.3 million and Fulbright-Hays (overseas programs) would increase by $500,000 up to $10.3 million. The House bill provides $88.6 million for the two programs combined.
  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) received a $33.8 million funding boost up from $268 million to $301.8 million. Museum programs would receive a $5 million increase up to $52.4 million. Library Programs would increase by $3.6 million, up to $201 million. By comparison, the House bill only provides $280 million for the IMLS. The major difference in funding is due to the inclusion in the Senate bill of $20 million, “to make urgently needed improvements to public and Tribal library and museum facilities nationwide, with a priority for such facilities located in rural, underserved, or economically disadvantaged areas.
  • The National Park Service’s FY 23 budget includes:

o   $85.4 million for National Recreation and Preservation, an increase of $1.5 million above the FY 2022 enacted level of $83.9 million. The House bill provides 88.2 million for the programs.

o   $192 million for the Historic Preservation Fund, an increase of $19 million from the FY 22 level of $173 million. The House bill provides $171 million or $2 million less than FY 22. Within the Fund, the bill includes:

§  $82 million for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices,

§  $19,654,000 in congressionally directed spending for historic preservation projects.

§  $26.5 million for Save America’s Treasures competitive and project grants,

§  $24 million for competitive grants to preserve the sites and stories of underrepresented community civil rights,

§  $11 million for grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities,

§  $12.5 million for Rural Historic Revitalization Grants,

§  $10 million for a competitive grant program to honor the Semiquincentennial anniversary of the United States in 2026 by restoring and preserving sites and structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places that commemorate the founding of the nation.

  •       The Smithsonian Institution would be funded at $1.175 billion, a $113 million increase over FY 22.
  •       The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars would receive $15 million, the same as last year.
  •       The United States Semiquincentennial Commission would receive $9 million, which is $1 million above the FY 22 level of $8 million. The House bill provides $15 million for the commission.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I will be out of the office from August 1-8 and checking my email infrequently.

Lee White

Executive Director
National Coalition for History
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