May, 6 2017
FY2017 Funding Set—On to '18
After months of often tense negotiations between Congress and the administration, and the very real possibility of a government shutdown, late last week Congress passed and the President signed a $1 trillion spending bill that will fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year (through September 30). The bipartisan agreement increases defense spending and provides an additional $1.5 billion in new border security spending, both priorities of the President and Republican congressional leadership, while also rejecting many of the significant cuts to domestic discretionary programs the President sought.
As we reported in March, among the cuts the President suggested to Congress was a $15 million reduction in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for the remainder of this fiscal year. Fortunately, Congress did not agree with the President’s request and actually increased the agency’s budget, from $148 million to $149.8 million. Given the considerable pressure on Congress to be receptive to the new administration’s wishes, the decision to raise funding for the NEA should not be understated and speaks to the strong, bipartisan support the arts endowment has been able to cultivate.
With immediate funding resolved, Congress will now turn its focus toward setting and passing appropriations levels for the fiscal 2018 budget. Strong support for the NEA has never been more necessary, because it is in the 2018 bill that the President has called for the outright elimination of the NEA. We will all need to be steadfast in our attention and communications with lawmakers as the law unfolds. Our congressional champions were quite successful in protecting the NEA during the last negotiation, but as we move ahead, and given the President’s position, the pressure to reduce funding will be even stronger. I encourage you to contact your elected members of Congress to communicate the following:
- Thank your member of Congress for supporting the NEA’s budget, particularly in this challenging environment.
- Acknowledge that 40% of the NEA’s funding goes directly to state arts agencies and that this support will allow the excellent work at the state level to continue. (Think about an example or two you can share.)
- As the FY2018 appropriations process ramps up, urge the member to oppose the President’s call for elimination of the NEA and instead urge that funding for the agency increase to $155 million.
- Mention an upcoming event or program that your agency is participating in, and invite the member and staff to attend.
With Congress already far behind in the traditional appropriations process, we expect members in both chambers to try to quickly advance legislation for FY2018. NASAA will continue to monitor developments closely. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me or another member of NASAA’s staff about where things stand and how best to support the NEA during this critical time
In this Issue
From the CEO
State to State
Research on Demand
More Notes from NASAA