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Auburn in 35 objects: Tubman Home

The Harriet Tubman Home, on South Street in Auburn, will become part of the National Park System.

For more than six years, federal representatives and local stakeholders have pushed for legislation establishing two national historical parks honoring Harriet Tubman, including one in the Auburn area. 

During a large portion of that time period, the effort came up short. Congress didn't pass the bill and it was reintroduced again and again. 

But in the 113th Congress, the Tubman parks bill gained more and more support. It eventually was attached to a major defense bill, which essentially guaranteed its passage in both houses. 

Here's a timeline summarizing the six-year effort to establish the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in the Auburn area and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park on Maryland's Eastern Shore:

July 2008 - The Harriet Tubman National Historical Parks Act is first introduced in Congress. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Michael Arcuri in the House of Representatives. U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, both New York Democrats, cosponsored the measure in the Senate. 

November 2008 - A report released by the National Parks Service says NPS employees should staff sites in Auburn associated with the proposed Tubman park. 

January 2009 - After the Tubman parks bill failed to pass before the end of the 110th Congress, the legislation was reintroduced early in the 111th Congress. Arcuri, Clinton and Schumer once again backed the measure. The legislation called for an increase in funding for the Auburn sites, from $7 million to $11 million. 

February 2009 - Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed the seat previously held by Clinton, urged the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to hold a hearing on the Tubman parks bill

July 2009 - A Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee holds a hearing on the Tubman parks bill

December 2010 - Another session of Congress ends without passage of the Tubman parks bill. It must be reintroduced in the 111th Congress. 

February 2011 - Concerns are raised that fiscal issues at the federal level could prevent passage of the Tubman parks bill. With Republicans taking over the majority in the House, passing the legislation could be an uphill battle. 

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, reintroduces the Tubman parks bill in the Senate on Feb. 1, 2011

June 2011 - Rep. Richard Hanna, who defeated Arcuri in the 2010 elections to become Auburn's new congressional representative, held a meeting with local stakeholders to discuss the Tubman park efforts. At the time, Hanna, R-Barneveld, said it was "highly unlikely" the bill would pass in the current Congress. 

July 2011 - Hanna's office confirms his staff attended a meeting with National Park Service officials and staffers from Cardin's office and Rep. Andy Harris' office. 

Hanna is still reviewing the Tubman parks legislation, his office says. At this point, a bill hasn't been reintroduced in the House. 

August 2011 - Maryland moves forward with plans to establish a state park honoring Tubman. The state park wouldn't affect plans for national historical parks in Auburn and Maryland. Establishing the two national parks remains a priority. 

Hanna says the Tubman parks legislation is one of the items on his plate, but there's still no bill in the House. 

November 2011 - The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the Tubman parks bill. It's the first time the legislation has been advanced by a congressional committee. 

February 2012 - The Tubman parks legislation is reintroduced in the House by Harris, a Maryland Republican, and cosponsored by Hanna. 

June 2012 - Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, who is running for re-election in the newly drawn 24th Congressional District which includes Auburn and all of Cayuga County, announces her support for the Tubman parks bill

July 2012 - In an update on the legislative effort, Gillibrand says they are continuing to work to pass the bill in Congress. But she noted that it's "very frustrating" because House Republicans oppose more spending on national parks. 

September 2012 - Buerkle announces that she has signed on as a cosponsor of the House bill to establish Tubman parks in Auburn and Maryland. 

December 2012 - Local leaders head to Washington to push for passage of the Tubman parks bill before the end of the 112th Congress. Supporters met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office.

However, the bill wasn't passed by either house before the end of session. 

February 2013 - Rep. Dan Maffei, who defeated Buerkle in the 2012 election, reintroduces the Tubman parks bill in the House. The legislation is reintroduced in the Senate by Cardin and cosponsored by Gillibrand and Schumer. 

March 2013 - The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advances the legislation for a second time. The bill goes to the full Senate for consideration. 

A week later, President Barack Obama designates the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland. The monument won't affect efforts to establish a national park in honor of Tubman. 

April 2013 - Maffei invites President Obama to visit the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn. Maffei viewed the invitation as a way to draw more attention to the Tubman parks bill. 

May 2013 - Every member of the New York congressional delegation has signed on as a cosponsor of the Tubman parks bill in the House. Maffei's bill now has 62 cosponsors. 

June 2013 - The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation holds a hearing on the Tubman parks bill. Maffei and Pastor Daren Jaime of Syracuse testify at the hearing. 

July 2013 - Members of the House subcommittee tour the sites associated with the proposed Tubman park in Maryland

August 2013 - President Obama visited central New York and spends one night in Auburn. During his brief Auburn stay, he did not visit the Tubman Home

December 2013 - The Tubman bill doesn't pass either the House or Senate before the end of 2013. But support is growing for the legislation. Maffei's bill in the House has 101 cosponsors heading into 2014.

March 2014 - The Congressional Black Caucus urges the House and Senate to pass the Tubman parks bill. Members of the caucus cosponsor Maffei's bill in the House. 

June 2014 - On a flight to Syracuse, Maffei discussed the Tubman parks bill with Vice President Joe Biden. Biden, who has ties to central New York, mentioned he was interested in visiting the Tubman Home later this year. 

July 2014 - The U.S. Senate passes the Tubman parks bill. It's the first time the House or Senate has approved the measure. 

Republican congressional candidate John Katko, who is challenging Maffei in the 24th District race, says he supports the Tubman parks bill

"The national park idea is a good one," he said. 

October 2014 - During a visit to Auburn to support Katko's campaign, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says he's "very supportive" of the Tubman parks bill

December 3, 2014 - House and Senate leaders unveiled a final agreement on the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. Among the provisions added to the final version of the bill is language establishing the Tubman parks in Auburn and Maryland. 

December 12, 2014 - Senate passes the NDAA

December 19, 2014 - President Barack Obama signs the NDAA, which includes the Tubman parks provision

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