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Federal Funding Bill Passes, Includes Increased Spending on History

by John Dichtl, President & CEO, AASLH on

The history community fared well in the FY2016 federal funding bill that Congress passed on December 18, 2015. This $1.15 trillion omnibus appropriations package increased funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the first time in six years.  Though at its lowest funding level in constant dollars since 1971, NEH received a $2 million boost. Its budget is now $148 million.

Also noteworthy is that the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) will receive level funding. And this is a win. As reported by our colleagues at the National Coalition for History (of which AASLH is a member), “The original appropriations bill considered in the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee would have cut NHPRC’s FY’ 16 budget by 40 percent from the FY’ 15 level of $5 million to $3 million. The situation allowed NCH to use the contacts gained from the History Caucus, and the cut was rescinded at the House Appropriations Committee markup. The NHPRC was only program in the entire bill to have funding restored.”

The Smithsonian Institution received $21 million more than last year, Library of Congress will be up $9 million, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) received a $2.2-million increase.

Two charts showing the budget changes for these and other history, archival, and education programs are available on the National Coalition for History website.