ARCHIVED: Urge Congress to Fully Fund the National Archives and Records Administration's Electronic Records Archive (ERA) for FY 2004

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BACKGROUND:

We have just learned that H.R. 2989, the Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act of 2004, is going to conference shortly. The bill as approved by the Senate eliminates funding for the National Archives and Records Administration's Electronic Records Archive (ERA). Sen. Patty Murray, Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and General Government, led efforts to defund the ERA for one year to offset additional funding for AMTRAK in FY 2004.

This is a very shortsighted decision that will serious curtail the important progress made by the ERA in capturing, making available, and preserving crucial electronic government information. Continuous funding for NARA's electronic preservation program is critically important to ensure that the Government's electronic information, those hundreds of thousands of "born digital" records that agencies create on a daily basis, are preserved and remain permanently accessible to the American public.

The good news is that H.R. 2989, as approved by the House, includes funding the ERA at $35.9 million which is the full amount requested by the Administration.

ACTION NEEDED:

Conferees for H.R. 2989 have just been announced and will be meeting next week, although their staff are beginning to work now to settle differences between the two bills. Using the following talking points, please contact your representatives immediately if they are listed below as members of the conference committee.

The message for Senate conferees is to please support the full funding amount of $35.9 million needed for the ERA in FY 2004. The message for House conferees is to thank them for their continued support for the ERA and urge them to defend full funding for the ERA in conference. Rep. Ernest Istook, Jr. (R-5th-OK), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Treasury, Rep.John W. Olver (D-1st-MA), ranking member of the subcommittee, and Rep.Steny H. Hoyer (D-5th-MD) all deserve a special thanks for their strong support for the ERA.

Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 to reach your representatives.

TALKING POINTS:

Full funding for the ERA in the amount of $35.9 million for FY 2004 is necessary because:

  • NARA has engaged in many collaborative research efforts with other government agencies and academic research institutions that have led to the development of their vision, goals and strategic plans for a vibrant Electronic Records Archives (ERA);

  • As today's technologies quickly become obsolete and the preservation of electronic records remains an ever moving target, it is vital that NARA be able to continue to build the infrastructure that will ensure the preservation of electronic government records;

  • NARA has made great strides in the preservation and access of electronic records since the creation of the ERA, including the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) System, the first publicly accessible application developed under the auspices of the ERA that is a vital component to NARA�s ability to achieve its goal of providing the public with "ready access to essential evidence";

  • The ERA project to preserve electronic government records is challenging and important, and the progress made by the ERA must not be interrupted, or the loss in terms of public access to electronic government will be severe and irreparable.

SENATE CONFEREES:

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations;
Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations;
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), chair of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and General Government;
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and General Government;
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA);
Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO);
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT);
Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbel (R-CO);
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX);
Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH);
Sen. Sam Brownback ( R-KS);
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD);
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV);
Sen. Herbert Kohl (D-WI);
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL);
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND);
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI).

HOUSE CONFEREES:

Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-10th-FL), chair of the House Committee on Appropriations;
Rep. David R. Obey (D-7th-WI), ranking member of the House Committee on Appropriations;
Rep. Ernest Istook, Jr. (R-5th-OK), chair of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies;
Rep. John W. Olver (D-1st-MA), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies;
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th-VA);
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-41st-CA);
Rep. Harold Rogers (R-5th-KY);
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-4th-KS);
Rep. Anne M. Northup (R-3rd-KY);
Rep. Robert B. Aderholt (R-4th-AL);
Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-20th-NY);
Rep. John A. Culberson (R-7th-TX);
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-5th-MD);
Rep. Ed Pastor (D-4th-AZ);
Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick (D-13th-MI);
Rep. James Clyburn (D-6th-SC);
Rep. Steven Rothman (D-9th-NJ).

Thank you very much,
Mary Alice Baish