Congressional Update 7/13/95

Thu, 13 Jul 1995 18:51:58 -0400

To the Preservation Community

From: Loretta Neumann, CEHP Incorporated and ACRA
Subject: Update on Interior Appropriations

This will update you on what has happened since yesterday on the 1996
funding bill for the Department of the Interior & Related Agencies (including
the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation). I'll repeat some of what I
sent before, since some people may receive this who didn't get the earlier

The House of Representatives did not complete it's work on the Interior
Appropriations bill last night. In fact, it barely got started. Conservative
Republicans, backed apparently by "Christian Right" lobbyists, opposed the
bill's consideration because of procedures contained in the rules that would
protect the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, which are also
included as "related agencies" in the bill. (The Endowments have not as yet
been re-authorized, and technically cannot be considered for appropriations
until the authorization legislation is enacted.)

The debate today--and I've been watching it on C-Span--has been rather
contentious--and time consuming. We cannot at this point predict when any
specific amendment will be voted on. They say they may stay in again until
midnight to complete work. The Advisory Council is in the back part of the
bill, so if it comes up tonight, it could be quite late. If you have cable
television and C-Span, you should watch some of this. It's good theater, if
rather depressing.

Below is a summary of the what we need everyone to do who supports
archaeology and historic preservation programs. We now have TWO battles--
(1) an amendment we SUPPORT by Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-Vermont) to restore
funding for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and
(2) an amendment we OPPOSE by Rep. Tim Hutchinson (R-Arkansas) to eliminate
funding to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Please understand that we are not hopeful about getting Rep. Sanders'
amendment approved; in fact, if it looks likely that he will lose, he will
withdraw it with our blessing. But we hope to establish a record of support
for it that we can use when we go to the Senate. Our strategy is to work on
the Senate, which has tended to be more reasonable on these matters. We'll
be sending you information very soon on what you can do to help with the

This afternoon, we had a letter hand-delivered to every Member of the House
of Representatives, signed by 14 organizations. ACRA took the lead in
getting it drafted. Preservation Action and the Society for American
Archaeology helped us get it delivered. It essentially says what I have said
in this message about supporting the Sanders amendment and opposing the
Hutchinson amendment.

Nevertheless, we need your help. If you have not done so, please call your
Representative. All members of Congress can be reached through the Capitol
Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. For those of you with faxes, I will append a
list alphabetized by State of senators and representatives. These were
accurate as of June 1995; if you find that any have changed, please let me
know. PLEASE SAVE THE LIST. We cannot re-send it every time we send out an

Last but not least, don't worry about questions you may get asked when you
call. You know more than they do about archaeology and historic
preservation. You should, if possible, give a local example of what these
programs have accomplished and why they are important. But most of all, your
message is simply that you are a constituent, you care about these programs,
and your Representative has an opportunity to demonstrate his or her concern
by voting FOR the Sanders amendment and AGAINST the Hutchinson amendment.
Even if they don't vote right this time, they need to know they are being
watched by their constituents and that they are being held accountable for
their votes. Next year, after all, they have to run for re-election.

If the Member is not available, talk to the staff. If it appears that your
Representative is supportive, ask that he or she speak up on behalf of Rep.
Sanders' amendment and against Rep. Hutchinson's amendment when they are
offered on the floor.

Rep. Sanders from Vermont is planning to offer an amendment to restore the
funding for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Specifically, it
would restore the Administration's request of $3.06 million for fiscal year
1996. The Appropriations Committee bill would cut the Council by two-thirds,
to $1 million, and eliminate it as a federal agency.
Note: The Council is an independent federal agency. It is composed of
federal, state, tribal and local officials and private citizens, supported by
a professional staff. It was established by the National Historic
Preservation Act to review and comment on the effects of federal undertakings
on historic properties. No other federal agency has this function. The
Council is up for reauthorization next year; to eliminate the Council now,
with no provision for how its functions will be carried out in the future,
will create havoc for what is now an effective, orderly process.

The amendment by Rep. Hutchinson from Arkansas would eliminate the grant
from the historic preservation fund for the National Trust for Historic
Preservation. The Appropriations Committee bill would have cut it in half,
from $7 million to $3.5 million.
The National Trust is a non-profit organization, chartered by Congress in
1949, that works with citizens and communities all over America to stimulate
community revitalization and economic development through historic