March 28, 2017
From: Isaac Brown, Legislative Counsel
On Friday, the White House issued a list of proposed budget reductions for the current federal fiscal year (FY2017). The Trump administration sent Congress a list of $18 billion in suggested cuts in order to make funds available for an immediate increase in national security spending.
The White House’s list of suggested cuts includes a $15 million reduction in National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant funding for FY2017. Although the document sent to Congress has not been made public by the administration, news sources indicate that it recommends reductions to scores of domestic discretionary programs, including the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice, the National Institutes of Health and others. It includes a recommended $15 million reduction for the National Endowment for the Humanities as well.
Given the schedule of NEA grant cycles, any cuts to the NEA’s remaining FY2017 grants budget would have an acute impact on state arts agencies. State Partnership Agreement awards are determined in the spring, with award start dates typically beginning in July.
Please contact your House and Senate delegations now. Urge them to sustain the NEA at its current funding level ($148 million) for the remainder of federal FY2017. NASAA’s Advocacy Tools offer helpful talking points. Your timely outreach is important because Congress is expected to take action on the FY2017 budget very soon. The continuing resolution that currently authorizes flat funding for all federal agencies expires on April 28. To avert a federal shutdown, Congress needs to pass legislation that determines funding levels for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Remember that Congress—not the President—holds ultimate authority over the federal budget. Your outreach to Congress will help to keep the NEA FY2017 budget intact in the days ahead. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.