House Appropriations Decision

Tue, 27 Jun 1995 18:31:37 -0400


This information comes from Loretta Neumann of CEHP, Inc. It concerns
today's decision by the Appropriations Committee of the House of
Representatives concerning funding for national historic preservation
programs. This information is provided by ACRA for the cultural resources
community. For information on joining ACRA to support this effort contact:
ACRA - American Cultural Resources Association, c/o 6150 East Ponce de Leon
Ave., Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083 Telephone: (404) 498-4155 email:

To the Archaeology & Historic Preservation Community:

The Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives voted today on
the bill to fund the Department of the Interior and Related agencies in
fiscal 1996 (October 1, 1995 through September 30, 1996). The bill is
expected to go to the House floor this Thursday and Friday June 29-30.
Following highlights the actions taken today and some key funding measures
contained in the bill that relate to archaeology and historic preservation.

The Committee considered two amendments that affect the national historic
preservation program--one relating to the Advisory Council on Historic
Preservation, the other to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

(1) ADVISORY COUNCIL: On a voice vote, the Committee defeated a motion by
Rep. David Skaggs (D-Colorado) to take out language in the committee's report
that calls for eliminating the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Only one Member spoke on behalf of the Council, Rep. Jack Kingston
(R-Georgia). Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) spoke against the amendment.
According to a witness, the vote was so solidly against the amendment that
Rep. Skaggs did not call for a recorded vote.

(2) NATIONAL TRUST: The Committee also solidly defeated, by voice vote, an
amendment that Rep. Tom Delay of Texas offered to delete all funding for the
National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Trust receives an annual grant
from the National Historic Preservation Fund. The Trust's share had already
been cut in half last week by the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, from
$7 million to $3.5 million.

No immediate action is needed, as it is unlikely that any effort will be
made on the House floor to retain the Advisory Council or add to its funding
(the Council was cut from $3 million to $1 million to be used to close it
down). Attention will now shift to the Senate, which will take up the bill
in July.

Meanwhile, both the House and the Senate will be in recess from July 1 to
July 9. Now is the time to meet with Members of Congress when they are back
home. Clearly they need an education. We did get many calls and letters and
faxes to them, but they also need to hear from constituents when there is not
a crisis. They need to understand that preservation is not just a local
issue. Yes, we need strong state and local laws. But the federal government
sponsors many activities that can harm historic resources. We need the
federal laws and programs to assure that these resources are at least given
some consideration when decisions are made that would affect them.