Each year, a key part of the appropriations process is Dear Colleague Letters. These letters, circulated each March, are written to request a certain amount of appropriations funding for agencies and policy priorities. The letters then receive sign ons from Members of Congress who wish to add their support to specific funding requests.
Knowing their importance in garnering support for an issue, we spearheaded a new Dear Colleague Letter in the House this year because the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) budget has been cut for the last two years. This new letter was written in collaboration with the National Coalition for History and requested $395 million for the National Archives and $7 million for the National Historical Publication and Records Commission for FY 2021. Led by Representatives John Larson (D-CT), Don Young (R-AK), and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), the letter received 26 total signatures in its inaugural year.
Also in the House, representatives circulated a Dear Colleague Letter supporting the NEH and one supporting Title VI and Fulbright-Hays. The NEH Dear Colleague Letter was led by Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) and requested $170 million for the NEH for FY 2021. The letter received 184 total signers, a new record number of total signers, and had 13 Republican signers. The Title VI and Fulbright-Hays Dear Colleague Letter requested $106.1 million total for both programs for FY 2021, including $95.7 million for Title VI and $10.4 million for Fulbright-Hays. Led by Reps. David Price (D-NC) and Don Young (R-AK), the letter received a record number of total signers at 117, including 6 Republicans.
This year, we also championed a new Dear Colleague Letter in the House that requested $395 million for the National Archives and $7 million for the National Historical Publication and Records Commission for FY 2021. Led by Representatives John Larson (D-CT), Don Young (R-AK), and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), the letter received 26 total signatures in its inaugural year.
In the Senate, Dear Colleague Letters circulated in support of both the NEH and Title VI and Fulbright-Hays. The NEH Dear Colleague Letter, which requested $170 million each for the NEH and the NEA for FY 2021, was led by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). The letter received 43 total signatures all of whom were Democrats, which is typical for this letter. The Title VI and Fulbright-Hays letter requested robust funding for the programs in FY 2021 and also called for the rejection of the proposed elimination of the programs in the Presidential Budget Request. The letter received 35 total signatures and was led by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Todd Young (R-IN).
Thank you to all of our advocates who made this year’s Humanities Advocacy Day a success! As the appropriations process continues to unfold, we will keep you updated should any action need to be taken.
Read more: policy updates