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NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 9, #39; 9 October 2003) by Bruce Craig (editor) <email@example.com National Coalition for History (NCH) Website http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~nch ***************** 1. Homeland Security History Office Authorized 2. Report: Legislative Branch Appropriations 3. Legislative Update: Coltsville Study; Manhattan Project Study; Harpers Ferry Boundary Expansion 4. NEH Call for Nominations 5. Bits and Bytes: Historian Named MacArthur Fellow; FBI Historian Appointed 6. Articles of Interest: UNESCO speech of 30 September 2003 by First Lady Laura Bush 1. HOMELAND SECURITY HISTORY OFFICE AUTHORIZED On 1 October 2003, President George W. Bush signed legislation (P.L. 108-90) -- Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2004 ( H.R. 2555) -- that includes language authorizing the establishment of an Office of History (HO) for the recently created department. Language authorizing the HO was incorporated in the Senate committee report (S. Rept. 108-86) largely due to the leadership of Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), a longtime supporter of history in the federal government and the Ranking Member of both the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee. Byrd's office has assured the National Coalition for History that creation of the office is a priority and that his staff will be monitoring the department's actions as they implement the authorization. Creation of the office was deemed to be of such importance that the appropriations subcommittee included language at the end of their report recognizing that "there will be funding requirements" and that "establishment of such an office may require the submission of a reprogramming request as required under Section 605 of this Act." While there was no similar language included in the House report (H. Rept, 108-169) the subcommittee conference report (H. Rept 108-280) agreed to by House and Senate managers states that the language in the individual House and Senate reports, "should be complied with unless specifically addressed to the contrary in the conference report and statement of managers." Hill insiders report that when the matter was addressed by the conferees, House managers were supportive of the Senate report language to the extent that they even queried history organizations for information and estimates about likely costs associated with the creation of such an office. Language in the report recognizes the importance of history in Homeland Security Department decision making: "Knowledge of historical precedent, historical context, and institutional history is critical to effective decision making." To that end, once established, the HO is to "produce, oversee, and coordinate the production of a range of reference, policy, and historical background assessment papers....provide expert historical knowledge essential for informed decision making to maintain the institutional history of the Department....provide professional assistance to the historical and archival activities of the directorates and bureaus within the Department; and...produce such documentary collections as may be deemed necessary." The language authorizing the HO is the culmination of a fourteen-month bi-partisan effort by various members of Congress and the National Coalition for History. Support for the HO came from individual members of the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council, as well as both Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate in the 107th and 108th Congresses. In addition to the leadership provided by Senator Byrd, during the 107th Congress Congressman Stephen Horn of the House Committee on Government Reform early-on embraced the notion of a HO and spearheaded a bold yet in the end unsuccessful effort to advance a Committee Amendment designed to authorize the HO in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (H.R. 5005/S. 2452). The 2002 Act provided the legislative basis for the new department. The National Coalition for History has initiated contact with Homeland Security department officials to discuss implementation of the report language. 2. REPORT: LEGISLATIVE BRANCH APPROPRIATION On 30 September 2003, President Bush signed legislation (P.L.108-83), the Legislative Appropriations Act (H.R. 2657; H. Rept. 108-279), authorizing expenditures for the operations of Congress and their support institutions including the Library of Congress (LC) for FY 2004. In his testimony before Congress earlier this Spring, Librarian of Congress James Billington requested a total budget of $540 million for the institution. This reflects a net increase of $44.5 million (8.4 percent) over the FY 2003 enacted level. Congress, however, appropriated only $526 million of the Librarian's request. Congress extracted savings by not approving all of Billington's staffing increase requests and by making some programmatic reductions. The funding levels for several special project offices is of greatest interest to historians and archivists. The American Folk life Center was funded at the president's requested level with the Veterans Oral History Project receiving the requested $589,000. The National Audio-Visual Conservation Center also received the funding requested -- $11 million. Congressional earmarks continue for the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and for the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial, and a new $500,000 earmark was appropriated for a Lincoln-Douglas debate exhibit at Knox College in Illinois. Appropriators also devoted considerable funds -- $47.8 million -- for the ongoing Capitol Visitor's Center project. Of that total, $35.8 million will be dedicated to operations. There also is $10 million set-aside for the construction of a particularly controversial tunnel connecting the Capitol Visitor Center and the Library of Congress. The legislation also establishes a Curatorial Advisory Board that is charged to provide advice and assistance to the Senate Commission on Art, a body charged to provide advice relating to the purchase and care of Senate and other Congressional collections. 3. LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: COLTSVILLE STUDY; MANHATTAN PROJECT STUDY; HARPERS FERRY NHP Coltsville Study: On 3 October 2003, President George W. Bush signed legislation (P.L. 108- 94; S.233) introduced by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) directing the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of a site known as Coltsville, to evaluate its national significance and its "suitabilty and feasibility as a unit of the National Park System." Coltsville is a community in Hartford, Connecticut, where the famous arms producer -- the Colt Manufacturing Company founded by Samuel Colt -- flourished during the Industrial Revolution. The study area includes Colt's residence, "Armsmear" (a National Historic Landmark), as well as a concentration of related resources in the Connecticut River Valley. Manhattan Project Study: On 30 September 2003, legislation (S. 1637/H.R. 3207), the "Manhattan Project National Historical Park Study Act of 2003" was introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) in the Senate and by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) in the House. The identical bills direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study on the preservation and interpretation of historic sites related to the Manhattan Project for potential inclusion in the National Park System. Study areas include the Oak Ridge uranium enrichment facility, the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and other sites associated with the multi-year top-secret effort to construct nuclear bombs. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and to the House Resources Committee for consideration. Harpers Ferry NHP: On 2 October at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources conducted a hearing on several pending bills including legislation (S. 1576) introduced by Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) to revise the boundary of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. A culmination of years of public hearings and consensus building, the bill seeks to authorize an expansion of the park boundary by up to 3,745 acres and authorizes the purchase of historic land from willing sellers. The land is part of the battlefield but was never incorporated into the park itself. The bill has strong support from the local community. The National Park Service (NPS) testified in favor of the bill, provided it be amended to delete some 191 acres held by six individuals; the government requested that Congress defer action on acquisition of these lands until 2006. The administration did support the transfer of approximately 800 acres from the U.S. Fish and Wild Life Service and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and the donation of the core 177 acres comprising the so-called "Boliver Battlefield" from the Civil War Preservation Trust. Witness testimony is available at: <http://www.energy.senate.gov/hearings/witnesslist.cfm?id=943>. 4. NEH CALL FOR NOMINATIONS The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has issued a call for nominations for the 2004 Heroes of History Lecture. The lectureship, which is held annually each fall, is an important component of the NEH's "We the People" initiative, a program designed to strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and civics. The lecture, which is published nationally and presented to a large audience of scholars, educators, and young people, provides an opportunity for the public to learn about the lives and deeds of our nation's heroes. The lecture carries a $10,000 honorarium. Last May, historian Robert V. Remini delivered the inaugural lecture that focused on an extraordinary group of ordinary men, the members of the first United States Congress. Nominees for the lectureship should be United States citizens who have made significant contributions to public understanding of American history. They should also have the ability to speak to a broad audience in an appealing way. The deadline for nominations is 24 October 2003. The lecturer will be selected by the NEH Chairman with the advice of the National Council on the Humanities. A special committee of the National Council will consider nominees and recommend a list of finalists for consideration by the full National Council and the Chairman. To nominate a potential lecturer, please follow the directions at the NEH website: <http://www.neh.gov/heroesnominate.html>. Questions concerning the submission of nominations, may be directed to Andrew W. Hazlett, Special Assistant to the Chairman, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-606-8355. 5. BITS AND BYTES Item #1-- Historian Named MacArthur Fellow: University of Georgia Associate Professor of History, Eve Troutt Powell, along with twenty-three others creative individuals has been named a MacArthur Fellow. The fellowships, commonly referred to as "genius awards" seek to recognize creativity and encourage talented individuals of all educational backgrounds and professions to pursue their own intellectual and professional inclinations. The fellows are provided a $500,000 award that they are free to use as they wish over a five year period. Unlike other fellowships there is no application process -- an anonymous selection committee makes it recommendations to the board of directors of the Chicago based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which considers the nominees and makes the foundation's annual selections. Item #2 -- FBI Historian Appointed: After nearly a decade of being without a professional staff historian, on 8 September 2003, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced the appointment of Dr. John F. Fox, Jr., as FBI Historian. Fox is only the second bureau historian in the FBI's history. Among his duties, Fox will oversee the development and administration of an FBI history program, deliver lectures to FBI audiences, host the FBI History Forum, answer queries and provide information about FBI history to Bureau employees, scholars, researchers and the public, and work in liaison with other government and public historians, museums, libraries, and other entities on matters concerning FBI history. He will also acquire, maintain, and index historical materials and research issues in FBI history that have an impact on current events for FBI policy makers. Fox joined the Bureau in 1999 as a paralegal specialist in the Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Section. He received his Ph.D. in American history from the University of New Hampshire in 2001. His dissertation was entitled, "'In Passion and in Hope' The Pilgrimage of an American Radical, Martha Dodd Stern and Family, 1933--1990." 6. ARTICLES OF INTEREST One posting this week: The full text of the speech delivered on 30 September 2003 by First Lady Laura Bush (referenced in last week's NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE announcing that effective 1 October the United States would rejoin UNESCO. In her remarks, Mrs. Bush said that the group's work "is more urgent and more important than at any time in UNESCO's history." For the text of the speech, tap into: <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030929-8.html >. *********************************************************** The National Coalition for History invites you to subscribe to this FREE weekly newsletter! You are also encouraged to redistribute the NCH Washington Updates to colleagues, friends, teachers, students and others who are interested in history and archives issues. A complete backfile of these reports is maintained by H-Net on the NCH's recently updated web page at: <http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~nch>. 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