U.S. Congress

  • Ray Smock: Memories of Congresswoman Lindy Boggs

    Ray Smock was Historian of the U. S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1995. Lindy Boggs died this past week at the age of 97. She was my mentor and my dear friend during the years I served as historian of the U.S. House of Representatives and since that time. No one influenced me more and taught me more about the ways of the House and national politics than did Lindy. She literally took me under her wing and welcomed me into her large extended family on the Hill and throughout Washington and even in New Orleans, where I visited her in her Bourbon Street home on several occasions.I had no political connections nor was I the slightest part of Washington society when I got the job as House Historian. I knew nothing of how the institution of the House worked from the inside. I knew about Congress from the news and from textbooks. Lindy opened up that world to me from the inside. She knew I needed this to complete my education if I was to be able to do my job to its fullest extent.She was chairwoman of the House Bicentenary Commission, a special committee appointed by Speaker Tip O’Neill to oversee the 200th anniversary of Congress. My job was to plan for that bicentennial and report to the committee, one of the few in Congress to have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans.

  • Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Restores Sequester Cuts to NHPRC for FY 14

    The Senate Financial Services & General Government Subcommittee today passed a FY 14 funding bill that provides $5 million for the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC). NCH had asked for level funding of $4.75 million. However the subcommittee went beyond that amount for FY 14 and restored the $250,000 cut under the sequester in FY 13.The full Appropriations Committee is expected to adopt this funding level when it marks up the bill on July 25.Last week, the House Appropriations Committee rejected zeroing out the NHPRC and adopted an amendment that restored $3 million for FY 14.Thank you to everyone who sent alerts or called their Senators! It obviously made a huge difference!

  • Status Report on FY 14 Budgets for Federal History, Archival & Education Programs

    The National Coalition for History (NCH) has created a chart showing the status of all major federal agency programs affecting history, archives and education. Click here to access the chart. FY 14 Budget summary 7-25-13 While the chart itself does not provide the status at the House and Senate Appropriations Committee or Subcommittee level, that information is provided below. The chart will be updated as the bills are considered.The Financial Service & General Government (FS&GG) appropriations bill covers the National Archives and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.House bill (HR 2786) has cleared the House Appropriations Committee and is awaiting floor action.Senate bill (number not assigned) has cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee and is awaiting floor action.The Labor, HHS and Education appropriations bill covers Title VI-A&B (domestic) and Fulbright-Hays (international) programs under the International Education & Foreign Language Studies (IEFLS) program at the Department of Education. It also has jurisdiction over the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

  • House Passes K-12 Education Reauthorization Bill

    The House today passed an Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill (aka, No Child Left Behind). H.R. 5 eliminates 70 existing federal education programs including the Teaching American History (TAH) grants program at the Education Department.Even though Congress has not funded TAH since FY 2011, the House’s action revokes authorization for the program. The Senate version does not include such a provision.H.R. 5 passed the House by a vote of 221-207, with 12 Republicans joining all 195 Democrats in opposing the bill. The Obama administration has already stated it would veto the bill and it has no chance of passing the Senate.The Senate version of the ESEA bill is not expected to come to the floor until some time this fall. It would create a competitive “well-rounded education” grant fund aimed at low-income districts. S. 1094 would provide funding for history arts, music, civics, economics, health and physical education, foreign languages and other subjects. However, there would be no guaranteed funding stream and history would be competing with the other subjects for money.

  • House Appropriations Panel Provides Only $3 Million for NHPRC in FY ’14

    On July 17, the House Appropriations Committee cleared a Financial Services and General Government (FS&GG) fiscal year (FY) 2014 spending bill that provides only $3 million for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This represents a $1.75 million cut from the current year’s funding level of $4.75 million.The House FS&GG subcommittee’s bill had provided zero funding for the NHPRC. However, thanks to the efforts of Representative David Price (D-NC), the full Committee adopted his amendment to provide $3 million for the NHPRC and prevent elimination of the Commission.The amendment was approved by voice vote. The bill itself passed by a party-line vote of 27-21.While $3 million is the same amount requested by the Obama administration it will not support the ongoing programs and mission of the Commission at even a minimal level.On July 23, the Senate Appropriations’ FS&GG Subcommittee will mark up its version of the FY ’14 spending bill. The draft bill has not yet been released so there is no indication as to what, if any, funding the NHPRC will receive.