NASAA Notes: August 2014

August 8, 2014

Your Efforts Made a Difference

Congress adjourned for the summer last week, and is not expected to return until September 8. It is then expected to have 12 working days in Washington before the current federal budget expires on October 1. As a result, it is looking likely that Congress will have to pass a continuing resolution, which maintains existing funding levels, for at least some period of time to allow the government to remain open. Further complicating the calendar for this fall is that this is an election year, and members of Congress from both parties will lobby their leadership to spend as little time in Washington as possible so that they can focus on the campaign trail. In the meantime, we can be proud of our advocacy accomplishments in the House, and we’ve recently received good news about Senate action on the NEA budget, too.

NEA Funding

While the specter of Congress returning to the practice of using continuing resolutions to keep the government operating is disappointing, it in no way diminishes what a significant month July was in advancing the arts in federal policy. As NASAA reported last month, due in large part to the consistent and effective relationship-building efforts of NASAA members and arts advocacy organizations throughout the country, who answered the call to action by contacting their elected officials, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee decided to reject a proposed $8 million reduction in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and instead supported continuing the NEA’s current funding level of $146 million.

This change was significant in two ways:

  • First, it marked the first time since Republicans assumed control of the House of Representatives in 2011 that the House Appropriations Committee did not approve a reduction in funding for the NEA.
  • Second, the modification was included as part of a “manager’s amendment,” a tool used during congressional markups to amend legislation in ways that are not controversial. The inclusion of the NEA’s budget as a noncontroversial measure within the manager’s amendment indicates that our advocacy efforts worked to change the minds of key appropriators about the importance of funding for the NEA and its impact on state arts agencies.

If you are represented by a member of the House Appropriations Committee (listed below) and have not done so already, please let them know that you appreciate their support for the NEA!

House Appropriations Committee


Harold Rogers
, Kentucky, chairman
Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama
Martha Roby, Alabama
Steve Womack, Arkansas
Ken Calvert, California
David Valadao, California
Ander Crenshaw, Florida
Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
Tom Rooney, Florida
Tom Graves, Georgia
Jack Kingston, Georgia
Michael K. Simpson, Idaho
Tom Latham, Iowa
Kevin Yoder, Kansas
Andy Harris, M.D., Maryland
Alan Nunnelee, Mississippi
Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska
Mark Amodei, Nevada
Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey
David Joyce, Ohio
Tom Cole, Oklahoma
Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania
Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee
John R. Carter, Texas
John Abney Culberson, Texas
Kay Granger, Texas
Chris Stewart, Utah
Frank R. Wolf, Virginia
Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington

Ed Pastor, Arizona
Sam Farr, California
Michael M. Honda, California
Barbara Lee, California
Lucille Roybal-Allard, California
Adam B. Schiff, California
Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida
Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Georgia
Mike Quigley, Illinois
Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana
Chellie Pingree, Maine
Betty McCollum, Minnesota
Nita M. Lowey, New York
Bill Owens, New York
José E. Serrano, New York
David E. Price, North Carolina
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
Tim Ryan, Ohio
Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania
Henry Cuellar, Texas
James P. Moran, Virginia

In late-breaking news, just before adjourning for the summer recess, the Senate Interior Appropriations Committee released its draft budget for the NEA. For fiscal year 2015, the Senate proposes increasing funding for the NEA to $150 million. While the fact that the Senate proposes increasing funding for the NEA is not a surprise, if you are represented by a member of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee (below), we urge that you make contact with their office and request that the senator support the proposed increase.

Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee

Mark Begich, Alaska
Dianne Feinstein, California
Jon Tester, Montana
Tom Udall, New Mexico
Jeff Merkley, Oregon
Tim Johnson, South Dakota
Patrick J. Leahy
, Vermont

Thad Cochran, Mississippi
Roy Blunt, Missouri
Mike Johanns, Nebraska
John Hoeven, North Dakota
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee

With the Senate now out of session, it will not be able to consider the bill until September.

Arts Education Funding

There was also significant news relating to funding for arts education programs at the U.S. Department of Education. As you may recall, in its budget proposal to Congress this year, the Obama administration recommended (as it has in each of its previous budgets) eliminating the Arts in Education office at the Department of Education. Opposing this proposal has a been a key component of NASAA’s legislative strategy each year, including this one. Now, the Senate Appropriations Committee has released its draft budget for the Department of Education. Thanks in large part to the efforts of our members and other advocates urging members of Congress to oppose the president’s proposal, I am pleased to report that the committee has approved $25 million in funding (the current level) for continuation of the Arts in Education program.

Reach Out to Your Federal Legislators

With Congress now out of session for more than a month, it is important to remember that your elected officials will be home. Please reach out to your members of Congress and invite them and their staff to experience arts events in your state. It is a great way to foster relationships when the heat is off. It is just this type of relationship building that has paid dividends in the recent successes we have experienced.

In this Issue

State to State

Legislative Update

More Notes from NASAA

Executive Director's Column

Research on Demand




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