Take Action: House Votes Expected on 2011 Funds; House Appropriations Committee Struggles with Cuts, Lists NEA

February 11, 2011
To: State Arts Agency Executive Directors and Chairs
From: Thomas L. Birch, Legislative Counsel
Vol. 03:11

Take Action: House Votes Expected on 2011 Funds;
House Appropriations Committee Struggles with Cuts, Lists NEA

The chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), this week released a plan to cut some $41 billion in spending for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year—including a swipe at reducing funds for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) from the current level of $167.5 million to $155.3 million, the budget level for the arts agency in 2009. A similar cut was proposed for the National Endowment for the Humanities, included in a partial list of some 70 federal programs set for funding reductions in what is left of the fiscal year as the House begins to draft a final continuing resolution for 2011. The government is operating now under a funding resolution set to expire on March 4.

Congressional leaders hope to have their work completed on this fiscal year’s budget by the March due date. However, what was meant to be a smooth operation in the House hit a roadblock when Republican budget hawks made it clear to their party leaders that the proposed cuts were not deep enough. Notable among the opposition are the conservative Republican Study Committee, which last month offered up its budget proposal with elimination of the NEA, and the Republican freshman class, many of whom appear intent on cutting back the size of government through deep spending reductions.

If negotiations within the Republican caucus progress, the final continuing resolution for FY2011 is expected to reach the House floor some time next week. NASAA is anticipating that amendments will be offered to cut into arts funding even more than would be proposed in the bill on the floor, as well as proposals to eliminate the NEA funding entirely. We are working with our advocacy colleagues to identify supporters and defeat any damaging amendments.

Please take action. Contact your representatives in the House by early next week. Urge them to vote against any amendments proposed on the 2011 continuing resolution that make further cuts to funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Ask them to speak on the House floor in support of the NEA budget, and offer to provide them with talking points about the value of the federal funding to the arts in your state.

You may contact your senators and representatives by e-mail at http://www3.capwiz.com/mygov/dbq/officials/, or through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. These are the key points to make in your communications with your legislators:


  • Public funding for the arts is a sound investment in states and communities facing tough economic conditions.
  • The arts generate jobs, tax revenues and consumer spending.
  • NEA funds to state arts agencies will enable state support for the arts to continue where a depressed economy has resulted in revenue shortfalls.These NASAA resources can help you make the case:

    Taking Charge of Change
    Why Should Government Support the Arts?Please make a special effort to secure the support of those moderate Republicans who have good voting records on arts funding issues in the past. Reach out to these legislators and urge advocates in your state to do the same:

    Rep. Robert Aderholt

    Rep. Brian Bilbray
    Rep. Mary Bono
    Rep. Jerry Lewis

    Rep. Vern Buchanan
    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

    Rep. Michael Simpson

    Rep. Judy Biggert
    Rep. Timothy Johnson
    Rep. John Shimkus

    Rep. Ed Whitfield

    Rep. Rodney Alexander

    Rep. Thaddeus McCotter
    Rep. Mike Rogers
    Rep. Fred Upton

    Rep. Jo Ann Emerson

    Rep. Dennis Rehberg

    Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

    New Jersey
    Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen
    Rep. Frank LoBiondo
    Rep. Christopher Smith

    Rep. Steven LaTourette
    Rep. Patrick Tiberi
    Rep. Michael Turner

    Rep. Frank Lucas

    Rep. Greg Walden

    Rep. Charles Dent
    Rep. Jim Gerlach
    Rep. Timothy Murphy
    Rep. Todd Platts

    Rep. Frank Wolf

    Rep. David Reichert

    West Virginia
    Rep. Shelley Moore Capito