Action Update: Senate Democrats' Bill Maintains NEA Funding Level

March 7, 2011
From: Thomas L. Birch, Legislative Counsel
Vol. 11:11

Action Update: Senate Democrats’ Bill Maintains NEA Funding Level

The debate over the fiscal year 2011 federal budget continues. The Senate Appropriations Committee has released its version of the year-long continuing resolution (CR) proposing to hold funds for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at the 2010 level of $167.5 million. This is the Senate Democrats’ response to the measure passed by the House in early February proposing to cut NEA funds by $43 million in the current year.

Tomorrow afternoon the Senate plans to vote on both bills—the Democrats’ proposed FY2011 funding bill, which cuts $6.5 billion beyond the $4 billion cut in the short-term continuing resolution passed last week, and the bill passed by the Republican majority in the House in February to cut a total of $61.5 billion. Neither measure is expected to receive the 60 votes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said he will require to let either bill go forward. With the votes put aside, negotiations will continue to arrive at an agreement on how much gets cut from the overall federal budget in 2011.

Advocacy continues: Your continued advocacy is essential to keep the message in front of your senators and representatives to maintain current funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, and to restore $40 million in funding for the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program, which was eliminated in the short-term CR passed a week ago.

The Senate Democrats’ response to the arts endowment’s spending, setting the budget at the 2010 level, is an encouraging sign. This is not the last word, however, on FY2011 funding. The final outcome will be decided as the House and Senate negotiations unfold over the coming couple of weeks to craft the full-year FY2011 budget resolution carrying federal spending through the remaining months of the current fiscal year.

Your help is needed to ensure that federal funding is reinstated for the Arts in Education program and that the funds cut by the House for the NEA are restored. As debate continues over the next week or two, your advocacy is essential. Please speak up for saving arts funding in the final FY2011 appropriations bill.

Contact your senators NOW to ask for restoration of FY2011 funding for the NEA and the Arts in Education program:

  • Restore FY2011 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to ensure that NEA funding for the current year is not reduced to the level passed by the House, with its cut of funding from the 2010 level of $167.5 million down to a proposed level of $124.5 million.
  • Reinstate the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education, which provides vital federal leadership and funding that improves schools, teaching, and student learning. Cuts to this program will take away funding for multiyear programs that are already in progress!

You may contact your senators by e-mail at or by phone through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.