Take Action: Urge Senators to Maintain NEA Funding

March 1, 2011
From: Thomas L. Birch, Legislative Counsel
Vol. 09:11

Take Action: Urge Senators to Maintain NEA Funding

Update: Short-Term Continuing Resolution

The U.S. House and Senate are preparing to pass a short-term continuing resolution to replace the current spending measure expiring March 4. The new funding bill, which is set to run until March 18, would include cuts of $4 billion over a two-week period by eliminating earmarked funds and terminating programs identified by President Obama in his proposed budget. Appropriations to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) are not at risk in this bill, which otherwise continues to fund federal agencies at the fiscal year 2010 level.

FY2011 Continuing Resolution

Between now and March 18, the Senate and the House must come to agreement on the provisions in a continuing resolution to carry funding for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year. The House passed its bill two weeks ago, H.R. 1, which includes a cut of $42 million from the NEA 2011 budget. It is unclear whether the Senate will pass its own bill, or negotiate an agreed upon measure with the House before moving forward on the Senate floor.

Immediate Action

Contact your senators NOW to ensure that funding for the National Endowment for the Arts in the current year is not reduced to the level passed by the House, with its cut of funding from the 2010 level of $167.5 million down to a proposed level of a total of $124.5 million.

Please take time over the coming week to urge your senators to maintain the NEA’s 2011 funding at the 2010 level of $167.5 million. Tell your senators to reject the deep cuts taken by the House in federal arts support.

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

  • Remind your senators that 40% of NEA program funds go to state arts agencies. A cut to federal funding is a cut to dollars that support your state’s cultural, economic and education policies.
  • NEA funds help produce and maintain jobs in the creative sector, generate tax revenues and stimulate consumer spending for your state’s economy.
  • The magnitude of cuts proposed in the House-passed bill will mean cuts in access to arts programs for inner city, rural and underserved communities and for disabled and older people in your state.
  • Cuts at the level passed by the House will diminish your agency’s ability to support arts education and help facilitate children’s success in school.

Thank you for your advocacy and your support of our efforts at NASAA to safeguard federal arts funds. Please let us know what you hear back from your contacts on Capitol Hill. Your partnership in our advocacy effort is key to our collective success.

Next Up: Fiscal Year 2012

Once Congress has finished with the continuing appropriations bill for 2011, legislators will turn their attention to President Obama’s 2012 budget. The administration has proposed a cut in funds to the NEA to the level of $145 million. The Obama budget proposal will mean cuts in the partnership grants to state arts agencies and reductions in the arts education grants to states, along with funding decreases overall in the budget of the NEA. What’s more, the administration’s budget for the first time exempts a special initiative—Our Town—from program funds subject to the 40% share going to states. This proposal is unprecedented.

When you talk to your senators—and your representatives—remind them of the importance of the funds set aside for state arts agencies at 40% of all NEA program funds. Remind them that robust funding at the federal level enables you to do a better job of reaching more constituents in your state.