H.R. 5282: To Provide Funds to the Army Corps of Engineers to Hire Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces to Assist the Corp with Curation and Historic Preservation Activities

H.R. 5282

To Provide Funds to the Army Corps of Engineers to Hire Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces to Assist the Corp with Curation and Historic Preservation Activities

Sponsor
Rep. John Barrow

Date
September 14, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 5282 is expected to be considered on the House floor on Wednesday, September 15, 2010, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  This legislation was introduced by Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) on May 12, 2010. 

Bill Summary

The bill would request the Army Corps of Engineers to establish a Veterans’ curation program to hire veterans and members of the Armed Forces to assist the Corps with its curation and historic preservation activities.  The bill would authorize to be appropriated $35 million.

Findings:

  • The Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies are required to preserve and catalogue artifacts and other items of national historical significance that are uncovered during the course of their work;

  • Uncatalogued artifacts within the care of federal agencies are stored in hundreds of repositories and museums across the country;

  • In October of 2009, the Army corps of Engineers, Center of Expertise for Curation and Management of Archeological Collections, used $3,500,000 in temporary funds from the stimulus (Recovery Act of 2009) to begin the Veterans’ Curation Program to employ and train Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in archeological processing;

  • The Veterans’ Curation Program employs veterans and members of the Armed Forces in sorting, cleaning, and cataloguing of artifacts managed by the Army Corp of Engineers;

  • Employees of the Veterans’ curation Program gain valuable work skills, including computer database management, records management, photographic and scanning techniques, computer software proficiency, vocabulary and writing skills, and interpersonal communication skills, as well as knowledge and training in archaeology and history;

  • Experience in archaeological curation gained through the Veterans’ Curation Program is valuable training and experience for the museums, forensics, administrative, records management, and other fields;

  • Veterans’ Curation Program participants may assist the Army Corps of Engineers to develop a more efficient and comprehensive collections management program and also may provide the workforce to meet the records management needs at other agencies and departments, including the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Training and Employment for Veterans’ and Members of the Armed Services in Curation and Historic Preservation:

The Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers shall develop a Veterans’ Curation Program to hire veterans and members of the Armed Forces to assist the Corps with its curation and historic preservation activities.

The bill would authorize for appropriation, beginning in fiscal year 2010, $10,000,000 for each fiscal year.

Background

The Army Corp of Engineers is required to preserve and catalogue artifacts and any items of historic significance that are uncovered during the course of their work.  The program was created with $3.5 million that was provided in the original stimulus bill (Recovery Act of 2009) which employees veterans in archaeological processing.

Possible Member Concerns:

Increased Spending:  The bill would cost $32 million over a five year period.

  • CBO estimates this year’s deficit to be $1.3 trillion.  This amounts to over 9 percent of GDP, nearly three times the average of the past 40 years;

  • Current national debt is: $13.444 trillion; and

  • Non-defense discretionary spending has increased by more than 84 percent since 2009.

Cost

CBO estimates that if Congress appropriates the amount authorized in the bill, H.R. 5282 would cost $32 million over the 2011-2015 periods.