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S. 3505 (115th): Preserving America’s Battlefields Act

How much should we pay to fund the preservation of Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefields

Context and what the bill does

The American Battlefield Protection Program was created in 1991 to protect historic battlefield lands, as a division of the National Park Service. To date, it has preserved more than 30,000 acres of battlefields in 20 states from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and War of 1812.

The program is currently funded through 2021 at $10 million per year. The Preserving America’s Battlefields Act would double that to $20 million per year through 2028.

The legislation was introduced in the House on June 14 as H.R. 6108 by Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA10), and in the Senate on September 26 as S. 3505 by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

What supporters say

Supporters say the legislation would protect land that played vital roles in the country’s history.

“Experiencing historically significant battlegrounds is incredibly moving and underscores the importance of preserving America’s most sacred sites,” Rep. Hice said in a press release. “There is no better setting for Americans to learn about the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform than at the battlefields themselves. [The bill] will help ensure that generations of Americans can explore our history, heritage, and the lands that were once the scenes of our Nation’s most pivotal conflicts.”

“As a former history teacher, I know how inspiring it can be for people to visit the places where our nation’s history unfolded,” Sen. Blunt said in his own press release. “There are battlefields in Missouri and across the United States where the sacrifices that were made forever changed the course of American life. I’m proud to support this bill, which will preserve these important sites for generations to come.”

GovTrack Insider was unable to locate any statements of opposition.

Votes and odds of passage

The House version first attracted 32 bipartisan cosponsors: 19 Republicans and 13 Democrats. It passed the House Natural Resources Committee unanimously on September 27, and is expected to receive a vote in the full House in December.

The Senate version has seven bipartisan cosponsors: five Democrats and two Republicans. They will either vote on the House’s version if it passes that chamber, or else await a potential vote in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Last updated Dec 12, 2018. View all GovTrack summaries.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Sep 26, 2018.


Preserving America's Battlefields Act

This bill reauthorizes though FY2028 the Battlefield Acquisition Grant Program and expands the purposes of the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act of 2002. Specifically, the Act's purposes shall include:

the preservation and protection of nationally significant battlefields of not only the Civil War but also the American Revolution and the War of 1812, and the enhancement of visitors' experiences at those battlefields.