APRIL 05, 2019

The House Historic Preservation Fund Dear Colleague Letter Receives a Record Level of Support!

A bipartisan group of 130 House members signed-on to the  FY20 Historic Preservation Fund Dear Colleague Letter . This shows an incredible level of support for historic preservation and marks the  highest level of support the HPF Dear Colleague letter has ever received!  Led by the co-chairs of the Historic Preservation Caucus,  Rep. Michael Turner  (R-OH) and  Rep. Earl Blumenauer  (D-OR), the letter  requested a record level, $141 million in funding for the HPF.  This year's letter received 13 more signatures over the FY19 House letter, and included 25 new members of Congress. 

The letter was submitted to the  House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee . Thanks to everyone that reached out to your Representatives over the last few weeks and helped make this possible. And a special thank you to Congressman Blumenauer and Congressman Turner enough for their incredible efforts on the HPF Dear Colleague letter and their continued leadership on historic preservation.
Thank Your Representative!
Did your  Representative sign-on to the   FY20 House HPF Dear Colleague Letter? Be sure to thank them for their vocal support of historic preservation funding! See the final dear college along with a list of signers below. Preservation Action is working with our national partners and senate offices to finalize the FY20 Senate HPF Dear Colleague, stay tuned for more information.

Senate Committee Advances David Bernhardt Nomination for Interior Secretary and Aimee Jorjani Nomination for ACHP Chair

Aimee Jorjani alongside her family at her confirmation hearing in May 2018.
This week the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee  advanced the nominations of Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. to become Secretary of the Interior, Susan Combs to become Assistant Interior Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, and Aimee Jorjani to become the first full-time chair of the Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation (ACHP). Acting Secretary Bernhardt was confirmed 14-6, with two democrats joining with republicans to advance his nomination. Combs and Jorjani were confirmed by voice votes. The nominations now move to be considered by the full Senate. 

Acting Secretary Bernhardt was nominated by President Trump earlier this year after taking over for former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who stepped down in January. His confirmation process has been controversial with many democrats questioning his background as a former lobbyist for the oil and gas industry and decisions he made while serving in the Department of Interior.

Aimee Jorjani was first nominated by President Trump over a year ago and received a confirmation hearing in May, but ultimately failed to be confirmed by the end of the last Congress. She was renominated earlier this year. If confirmed, Ms. Jorjani would become the first full-time chair of the ACHP, replacing current ACHP Chairman, Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA.  She has a strong background in historic preservation. Ms. Jorjani held several positions at the Department of the Interior (DOI), including serving as the Deputy Secretary's Special Assistant for Historic Preservation and as DOI's first department-wide Historic Preservation Officer. She has a masters in historic preservation from Goucher College.
National Park Service Deputy Director, Daniel Smith, Testifies Before House Appropriations Subcommittee

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) speaking during Preservation Advocacy Week 2019
This week the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee held a hearing on the administration's budget requestP. Daniel Smith, Deputy Director and current Acting Director of the National Park Service (NPS), Margaret Everson, Principal Deputy Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, and Dr. Jim Reilly, Director of the U.S Geological Survey, testified before the subcommittee. They answered questions from committee members about the administration's proposed budget, which requested a 12% cut to the Department of Interior, and a nearly 70% cut to the Historic Preservation Fund. 

Members from both parties expressed concern over cuts to historic preservation programs. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member, David Joyce (R-OH) questioned Deputy Director Smith about the proposed elimination of the Heritage Partnership Program, which funds National Heritage Areas, in spite of 6 new NHAs being established this year. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) questioned him about the proposed elimination of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities preservation grant program. Deputy Director Smith said the primary focus in the budget was maintaining our National Parks and grant programs were secondary to that. 

At the hearing, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chairwoman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, also highlighted the significant cuts to the Historic Preservation Fund proposed in the President's budget. She cited the elimination of the Save America's Treasures program, the African American Civil Rights grant program, and the Historic Revitalization grant program.

Despite the extreme cuts proposed by the Trump Administration, Congress has continued to show strong support for historic preservation over the last few years. Stay tuned to Preservation Action's weekly Legislative Update for the latest on the budget process.
Thank You for Another Successful National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week!

Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) alongside Preservation Action President, Russ Carnahan and Frank Butterfield with Landmarks Illinois at the Champions of Historic Preservation reception during Advocacy Week.
Preservation Action along with our partners at the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers just concluded another great National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, DC last week. We were joined by nearly 200 participants, representing 40 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Thank you to everyone that helped make Advocacy Week 2019 a huge success. 

Hill Report Forms/Follow-Up

Please submit your Advocacy Week Hill Report Forms. Knowing how your meetings went is critical for our continued advocacy. You can complete your report form online or return completed forms to

As preservationists return to the their home states as Hill veterans, remember to follow-up from your congressional visits. Perhaps you can send a personalized thank you note and invite members and staff to tour a historic tax credit project in-district.

Preservation Action
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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.