NEA Draft Budget Released, Hearing Wednesday

From: Isaac Brown, Legislative Counsel
Vol. 15:06

This morning, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), released the agency’s draft budget for fiscal year 2016. The bill proposes funding for the NEA at $146,021,000. This number matches the agency’s current level. While that number is below the president’s request of almost $148 million, and well below the $155 million arts advocates were seeking, it is important to note that just last year, the same committee initially proposed cutting the NEA’s budget to $138 million. Further, sequestration, which requires federal funding to be reduced each year, remains in effect.

Also of interest, the committee recommends funding the National Endowment for the Humanities at $146,021,000 for FY2016.

In releasing the bill, the committee announced that it plans to hold a hearing to mark up the bill tomorrow morning, June 10. If you are represented by someone on the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee (see list below), please reach out to their office to share the following:

  1. Thank the committee for supporting level funding, and urge the member to continue to support this level of funding as the bill moves through the committee process and onto the floor.
  2. Remind the member’s office that because of the strong partnership between state arts agencies and the NEA, 40% of all grant dollars appropriated to the NEA is given to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations.
  3. Take the opportunity to tell the staffer about an exciting arts or cultural event going on in their district this summer. Many staffers spend time in their boss’s state during the August recess, and this is a great opportunity to build on your relationship.

House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee

Ken Calvert, California, Chairman
Mike Simpson, Idaho, Vice Chair
Tom Cole, Oklahoma
David Joyce, Ohio
Chris Stewart, Utah
Mark Amodei, Nevada
Evan Jenkins, West Virginia

Betty McCollum, Minnesota, Ranking Member
Chellie Pingree, Maine
Derek Kilmer, Washington
Steve Israel, New York

With the House committee moving on this bill, it is looking quite possible that the House could pass the bill by the time it adjourns for the August recess. Although the Senate has not yet released its draft bill for the NEA’s budget, the Senate Appropriations Committee has begun the process of considering appropriations bills for other agencies. As a result, it is quite possible that the House and Senate could pass their legislation before Labor Day. What remains to be seen is whether both the House and Senate will support similar funding levels. If they do, the NEA will likely have its budget set before the fiscal year expires on September 30.