House Committee Advances NEA Budget

July 19, 2017
From: Isaac Brown, Legislative Counsel

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the fiscal year 2018 budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at $145 million. The legislation now awaits consideration on the floor of the House of Representatives, which could come any time between now and September 30 (when current funding expires). While amendments to the legislation during floor debate are possible, it is likely that House leadership will not permit such activity in order to maintain the delicate balance the bill has thus far struck to win support of the Republican caucus.

What this means is that our best opportunity to increase funding for the NEA for FY2018 is in the Senate, where we await release of its draft proposal. Therefore, if you are represented by a senator on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee (which has jurisdiction over the NEA’s budget) and have not done so already, please contact their office (list below) and make the following points:

  • Urge the senator to oppose the President’s proposal to eliminate the NEA and ask that the agency be funded at $155 million, particularly if you think the member would be willing to entertain an increase in the current political environment. At the very least, urge the member to support the NEA’s current funding level of $150 million.
  • Request continued support for the federal-state partnership that directs 40% of the NEA’s grant dollars to state and regional arts organizations.
  • To support your request for an increase in funding in this difficult budget environment, discuss an interesting development or program at your agency and invite the senator and staff to participate when they are home.

Again, we at NASAA sincerely appreciate your attention and efforts to support the NEA at this critical time. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee