Senate Subcommittee Recommends $150 Million for NEA

November 20, 2017
From: Isaac Brown, Legislative Counsel

This afternoon the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee released a draft bill containing a proposed budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for fiscal year 2018. The bill recommends $150 million for the NEA, an amount matching the agency’s current funding levels. Today’s Senate bill recommends a higher funding amount for the NEA than did a bill passed by the House in September, which proposed $145 million for the NEA, a $5 million reduction from current levels.

A timetable for next steps has not yet been set. Congress is out of session for the Thanksgiving holiday. When the Senate returns next week, all energy will likely be focused on tax reform legislation which will be on the floor for debate. While the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee could hold hearings next week, they have not yet scheduled a meeting to do so.

With many members of Congress and Capitol Hill staff already away for the break, we suggest the following action steps: if you are represented by a member of the subcommittee, please contact your Senator’s office next week (preferably Monday). Please make the following points:

  • Thank your Senator for the subcommittee’s support for the NEA;
  • Reference the federal-state partnership, which sends funding directly to your state;
  • Use the opportunity to highlight a program or event funded by your state arts agency as an example of the value derived from federal investment in the arts.

While the timing and next steps are not entirely clear, we expect to learn more soon. Federal funding for fiscal year 2018 is set to expire on December 8th, so Congress will need to either move quickly or pass another short-term Continuing Resolution to keep government agencies operating.

NASAA will keep you updated and will advise you of next steps.