Washington, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today praised U.S. House of Representatives passage of HR 3981, legislation to permanently authorize the Preserve America and Save America's Treasures programs. The bill passed Tuesday night by a vote of 360-23.
“Bipartisan approval of this legislation by an overwhelming margin reflects the importance of these complementary historic preservation grant programs,” Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne said. “We are especially grateful for the leadership of Congressman Brad Miller of North Carolina and Congressman Michael Turner of Ohio, the Co-Chairs of the House Historic Preservation Caucus and sponsors of the legislation.”
At a Capitol Hill press conference in Oct. 2007, Mrs. Laura Bush, Honorary Chair of Preserve America and Save America’s Treasures, announced introduction of the legislation authorizing Preserve America, which was established by the Bush Administration, and Save America’s Treasures established by the Clinton Administration. She was joined by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne; Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Brad Miller (NC) and Mike Turner (OH), who introduced H.R. 3981; and Senators Hillary Clinton (NY) and Pete Domenici (NM), who introduced the legislation (S. 2262) in the Senate.
On April 9 Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett testified in favor of the legislation before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources National Parks Subcommittee to authorize the Preserve America and Save America’s Treasures programs.
Both programs enhance heritage tourism and public-private partnerships in historic and cultural preservation. Preserve America also fosters reuse and interpretation of cultural resources that form the social, educational, and economic fabric of communities. The Save America’s Treasures grant program funds “bricks and mortar” improvements to historic structures and assets.
Legislation to authorize Preserve America and Save America’s Treasures would ensure continuation of the historic preservation and heritage tourism benefits provided through these programs. Both programs have demonstrated significant on-the-ground results.
Administered by the Department of the Interior in cooperation with other federal agencies including the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, the programs have operated without congressional authorization since their inception.