House Votes in Strong Support of Historic Preservation

On Wednesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to increase funding for preservation programs and defeated an effort to reduce funds for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Thanks to all of you who have advocated on behalf of historic preservation; your voices make a difference!

Several key amendments to the fiscal year 2019 Interior appropriations bill passed. Rep. Joe Courtney [D-CT] successfully offered an amendment to increase the investment in the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) by $5 million to equal the amount allocated in last year’s budget.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus also succeeded in securing additional funds for sites associated with the African-American experience.

  • Rep. Terri Sewell’s [D-AL] amendment directs $2.5 million away from the Secretary of the Interior’s departmental operations and instead increases funding for competitive grants to preserve the sites and stories of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s [D-TX] amendment adds an additional $500,000 to the HPF for competitive grants for the survey and nomination of properties to the National Register and as National Historic Landmarks associated with under-represented communities.
  • A second amendment by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee directs that an additional $1 million of HPF funds should be allocated to grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
  • Rep. James Clyburn’s [D-SC] amendment increases funding for HPF grants to HBCUs by $2 million.

Rep. Glenn Grothman [R-WI] led an effort to decrease funding for NEH by 15%, almost $23 million. However, the House of Representatives voted decisively, 114-297, against cutting NEH monies. We are pleased to again see the strong support in Congress for the NEH, despite President Trump’s pledges to eliminate funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.

Next week, the U.S. Senate will vote on its version of the appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior. It is likely that we’ll need to make more calls to our Senators to ensure that they too support strong funding for preservation programs. Stay tuned!

Once both chambers have voted, conferees from the House and Senate will work together to create a compromise bill. If the compromise bill passes that House and Senate, it will then go the President for his signature.