Final 2011 Budget Bill Sets NEA Funds at $155 Million

April 12, 2011
To: State Arts Agency Executive Directors and Chairs
From: Thomas L. Birch, Legislative Counsel
Vol. 13:11

Final 2011 Budget Bill Sets NEA Funds at $155 Million

The final budget agreement negotiated by President Obama with House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders, H.R. 1473, is set to go to the House floor for a vote on Wednesday, April 13, with action to follow in the Senate. The bill sets 2011 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at $155 million for the year. This is the same amount proposed in H.R. 1 by the Republican leadership on the House Appropriations Committee in February: a cut of $12.5 million from $167.5 million in 2010.

That measure was roundly rejected by Republican freshmen legislators before the initial draft of H.R. 1 even went to the House floor. The continuing resolution (CR) for 2011 that eventually passed the House in February would have reduced arts endowment funding to $124.4 million. In March, the Senate rejected H.R. 1, and also failed to pass a Democratic alternative with NEA appropriations at $167.5 million.

The 2011 CR reduces federal spending overall by $38.5 billion from 2010 spending levels. The bill includes the $12 billion in cuts already taken and signed into law in the previous three continuing resolutions, as well as nearly $28 billion in new budget reductions. The final CR also includes $25 million for the U.S. Department of Education’s arts education grants, which had been eliminated completely in an earlier, short-term CR.

The new CR instructs federal agencies, including the NEA, to provide Congress within 30 days of enactment of the bill with a detailed spending plan for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.