FEBRUARY 15, 2019

Congress Passes Spending Bill Averting Shutdown, Includes Significant Increases for Historic Preservation Fund

After a series of continuing resolutions and a 35 day partial government shutdown, the House and Senate passed an FY19 spending bill. The legislation covers the 7 previously unfunded appropriations bills, including the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Despite lingering disagreements over funding for the proposed border wall, President Trump signed the bill. The bill funds the government through Sept. 30th.

The bill, H.J. Res. 31, includes $13 billion for the Department of Interior, of that $3.22 billion is allocated for the National Park Service, an increase of $20 million over FY18 levels. The Historic Preservation Fund will receive a record level, $102.66 million in funding, $5.75 million over FY18 levels. This includes increases for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, and increases for competitive grants programs.The funding levels for the HPF are the results of negotiations last fall, between the House and Senate passed versions of the bill. The full breakdown is below.

State Historic Preservation Offices: $49.675M, $750,000 over FY18 levels 
Tribal Historic Preservation Offices: $11.735M, $250,000 over FY18 levels 
Civil Rights Competitive Grants: $14.5M, $1.5M over FY18 levels 
Underrepresented Communities Grants: $750,000, $250,000 over FY18 levels 
Save America's Treasures Grants: $13M, equal to FY18 enacted levels 
Historic Revitalization Significance Grants: $5M, equal to FY18 enacted levels 
HBCU Preservation Grants: $8M, $3M above FY18 levels

The bill largely rejects the harmful cuts proposed in President Trump's budget request. This includes funding increases for the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and continues funding for the Heritage Partnership Program at $20.31 million, which supports National Heritage Areas. All of these programs were proposed for elimination in President Trump's budget request. 

Thank you to everyone that reached out to your members of Congress last year in support of the Historic Preservation Fund! 

Preservation Action is also thankful for the continued leadership of several key members of Congress, who helped make this record level of funding possible. We'd especially like to thank Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for their continued leadership and support.
Senate Passes Sweeping Public Lands Legislation

This week the Senate passed the Natural Resources Management Act, S. 47, concluding years of work and is the largest public lands bill passed in a decade. The Natural Resources Management Act, introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support, 92-8, and now moves to the House for consideration. Senate leadership fast tracked the bill, after coming up just short of passage at the end of the last Congress. 

The legislation includes several important provisions including the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF's authorization lapsed in September of last year and has yet to be reauthorized. The bill would also reauthorize the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) preservation program through 2024. This program provides critical funds to preserve historically significant sites on HBCU campuses.

The bill also establishes 4 new National Monuments, including the Medgar and Mrylie Evers Home National Monument in Mississippi, the Saint Francis Dam Memorial and National Monument in California, and the Camp Nelson and Mill Springs National Monuments in Kentucky.
National Park Service Now Accepting Applications for $5 Million in Preservation Grants in Rural Communities

The National Park Service is now accepting applications for a new grant program to support historic preservation projects in rural communities. The program provides $5 million in funding for preservation grants to revitalize historic properties of national, State, and local significance in order to restore, protect, and foster economic development of rural villages and downtown areas. The program was included for the first time as a subgrant of the Historic Preservation Fund in the FY18 Omnibus appropriations bill passed last year. The FY19 spending bill passed last night, once again provides $5 million for this important program.

Investments in historic preservation spur economic development, and this grant program could have major impact in rural communities across the country. These grants we're championed in the Senate by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Thank you Sen. Leahy for your continued support!

The grants are open to  State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, Certified Local Governments, and non-profits. Applications are due by April 1, 2019. Learn more and apply today!
Register for National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week! Early-bird Pricing Ends Today!

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) speaking at last year's National Preservation Advocacy Week.
Register today for National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week!  Preservation Action along with the National Conference of Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) is excited to host National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week 2019 from March 12-14 at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar in Washington, DC.

Lock in the best prices. Register for Preservation Advocacy Week today! After today registration increases by $25 and $10-$15 for ticketed events.

Advocacy Week registration includes in-depth training, policy briefings, meetings with elected officials and white papers from an array of preservation and policy professionals. Ticketed events offer additional meetings with elected officials, their staff, and a national network of preservation advocates.  Check out our  Advocacy Week  page for more information.

We Need Your Voice!

One of the most effective ways of sharing information with Congress is through direct meetings, and Advocacy Week is our annual opportunity to have a mass impact on opinion leaders and policy makers.  This is especially important as a new Congress will be sworn-in in January. With more than 100 new members of Congress coming to Washington, educating members on historic preservation issues will be critical.   Together with a cohesive message in support of preservation-positive legislation we can ensure a strong future for the federal historic preservation program.

Preservation Action
2020 Pennsylvania Ave NW #313
Washington, DC 20006
p. 202-463-0970

Preservation Action is the only national  non-profit dedicated exclusively to lobbying for the best preservation policies at the federal level. We seek to make historic preservation a national priority by advocating to all branches of government through a grassroots constituency empowered with information and training.