Action Alert for FY 2018 Budget – Contact Congress Now! - Issued April 10, 2017

The President’s proposed FY 2018 budget was recently sent to Congress, with the full budget proposal expected soon. CoSA requests that its members take action to contact Congress, in support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Archives and Records Administration generally.


National Historical Publications and Records Commission

The FY 2018 budget for NHPRC is unknown until the detailed budget proposal is released. Let’s be proactive in supporting the NHPRC and NARA, and contact our Senators and Representatives to let them know how important NHPRC and NARA are to each of our states. Call, email, or visit the local or DC office.  Include the following points in your message or visit:

1)      NHPRC has been helpful in your district and state.

2)      Include an example, with a specific story or fact about one or two grants in your district or state (such as, this grant added two jobs to the economy for two years, this grant allowed access to unique records that document…, this grant saved records that were previously inaccessible). Search the NHPRC database for grants in your state, or by category, for detailed information to use.

3)      Ask that NHPRC be funded at $6 million to continue the important work of caring for the nation’s historical and documentary records.

4)      Ask that your Senator or Representative, if he/she is not on the House or Senate Appropriations Committee, contact a member of the House Appropriations Committee or Senate Appropriations Committee to express support for NHPRC.  If your Senator or Representative is a member of the committee, ask that he/she support $6 million for NHPRC.

Congress is in recess for two weeks, starting Monday, April 10.  Take advantage of your representative being home to visit his/her district or regional office by making an appointment or just dropping in.  Phone and email comments continue to be monitored by staff during the recess.


Institute for Museums and Library Services, National Endowment for the Humanities

These agencies were eliminated in the President’s top-level (“skinny”) budget submitted to Congress on March 16.  Since both support archival projects, it is important for CoSA members to support these agencies.  The American Library Association, the Society of American Archivists, and the American Association of Museums recently shared tips for advocacy, including the following:

Actions to support IMLS from the American Library Association’s (ALA) District Dispatch

Share your federal funding impact story (including NHPRC) through the Society of American Archivists (SAA)

Support NEH through the National Humanities Alliance


Communication tips

Search for your member of Congress for telephone numbers and contact information.

Call either the Washington DC office, or one of the state or regional offices.  It is sometimes easier to get through on the state number.  Most offices track constituent correspondence and contacts through a shared database, so calling either the local or DC office is effective.

Your Senator or Representative’s webpage usually will have an email form for constituents to send messages, if the phones are busy or the answering machine is full.

Many Congressional offices have discontinued use of fax machines, but if you can find a fax number to the Washington or local office, it is another way to send your message to Congress.

Be brief and to the point.  A short phone call or a paragraph on a fax or email form is enough.  The office is counting the number of contacts about each issue, so a short and focused call or email is best, rather than a very long narrative.

Post your support on Twitter and Facebook, tagging NHPRC, NARA, IMLS, or NEH and CoSA.

If contacting Congress to discuss issues is not allowed in your agency, please share this information with your State Historical Records Advisory Board, state archival association, state genealogical societies, and others in your state. 

Let Anne Ackerson or Barbara Teague know if you have any questions or need assistance with contacting your representative.  Also, let Anne or Barbara know if you have contacted your representatives, and what response/reaction you received, so that CoSA can track responses.  If you have tried any of newer methods to contact Congress, such as Facebook’s Town Hall or mobile apps that assist constituents with contacting their representatives in Washington, please share. 


Upcoming Opportunities for Advocacy

Reauthorization for NHPRC may also be considered by Congress this year.

Further contacts with Congress WILL be needed in the future for NHPRC, IMLS, and NEH, so remember to look for future action alerts.

Stay tuned and thanks for contacting Congress!



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