Take Action: Contact Your Representatives and Senators; Urge NEA Funding at $155 Million for FY2013

May 9, 2012

From: Thomas L. Birch, Legislative Counsel
Vol. 10:12

Take Action: Contact Your Representatives and Senators
Urge NEA Funding at $155 Million for FY2013

2013 Appropriations Update: The House and Senate appropriations committees are beginning to draft legislation for funding across all agencies in the upcoming 2013 fiscal year. The budget allocations have been made to each of the appropriations subcommittees in both chambers. In the Senate, appropriators on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee—with jurisdiction over funds for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—are working with the same total spending allocation as for FY2012. In the House it’s a different story, with a budget resolution that hands $1 billion less to the Interior appropriators.

In my talks with staff on Capitol Hill, it is clear that austerity measures will need to be taken in the House bill expected to go to the floor by mid-June. In the Senate, Democrats and Republicans on the appropriations subcommittee who are working together to produce a bill should be in a better position to deliver funding closer to the 2012 spending levels.

Current funding for the NEA is at $146 million, and the president’s budget proposes an increase to $154.255 million. NASAA and our fellow advocates are asking Congress to fund the NEA at $155 million in FY2013. That’s the same level of appropriations provided to the arts endowment in 2011 and the amount initially proposed by the Senate for 2012.

Advocacy Action: House and Senate staffers continue to advise that legislators in Congress need to hear from constituents on the budget issues. Following on the visits to Capitol Hill made by you and other advocates on Arts Advocacy Day last month, take the time now to contact your senators and representatives and speak up in support of the arts. With discretionary domestic spending at high risk from threats to slash funds and eliminate programs, your legislators in Washington need to hear from you urging their support for NEA funding.

Contact your representatives and senators now:

  • Urge your state’s congressional delegation to support NEA funding for fiscal year 2013 at $155 million, the same funding level as in FY2011.
  • Let your legislators know the importance of NEA funds to assist you in your work of expanding involvement in the arts and promoting cultural opportunities for the citizens of your state, particularly at a time when arts organizations are feeling the effects of the economic downturn.

Remind your legislators of the value of public support for the arts:

  • The arts create jobs and produce tax revenue.
  • The arts play a major role in revitalizing rural areas and inner cities. The arts attract businesses and industries.
  • The arts promote cultural tourism.
  • The arts encourage imagination and critical thinking that lead to success in school.

You may contact your senators and representatives by e-mail at http://www3.capwiz.com/mygov/dbq/officials/ or by phone through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Engage with your legislators at home:

Advocacy begins in your own community, so take some time to develop relationships and continue communicating with your senators and representatives throughout the year. When members of Congress are home, take advantage of the opportunity to invite them to see your community programs in action.