April 5, 2017
President Proposes FY2017 NEA Cut
While NASAA and other arts organizations were in the midst of responding to the news that the Trump administration was proposing elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in its fiscal year 2018 budget, details emerged last week that the administration also was encouraging Congress to consider reducing the agency’s budget by $15 million for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
This proposal is especially problematic given the schedule of NEA grant cycles. Any cuts to the NEA’s remaining FY2017 grants budget would have an acute impact on state arts agencies, because state Partnership Agreement awards are determined in the spring, with award start dates typically beginning in July. This point is especially important because—in addition to our outright opposition to any reduction in funding to the NEA—it is incumbent upon NASAA and state arts agencies to communicate to legislators that the latest proposal is especially impactful on states and must be rebuked by Congress.
I want to thank those of you who were able to attend Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., last month. The timing of the conference could not have been more beneficial, and the feedback we’ve received from members of Congress so far has been quite positive. If you were not able to attend this year, now is the time to contact your legislators and urge them to support the NEA. The government is currently operating under a short-term continuing resolution that is set to expire on April 28. Consequently, Congress is negotiating with the White House on the terms of a bill to fund the government until the end of the fiscal year (September 30). In contacting your members of Congress, please consider the following points:
- Urge them to oppose the President’s proposals to reduce the NEA’s FY2017 budget and eliminate the NEA in FY2018.
- Make sure to emphasize that a cut to the 2017 budget would impact state arts agencies.
- Highlight a recent event or program undertaken by your agency.
- Congress begins a two-week recess on April 8. If the opportunity presents itself, invite the member and their staff to take a tour. These visits help build a relationship with the elected official, while also providing an opportunity to reinforce the fact that funding for the NEA benefits every congressional district in the United States.
With the Trump administration making sweeping proposals to cut funding for federal programs far beyond the NEA, it is critical that Congress hears from us that cuts to the agency are unacceptable. Beyond the above talking points, feel free to consult NASAA’s Advocacy Tools for helpful suggestions. If you are unsure whom to contact in Congress, use these links to identify your House and Senate delegations now. In urgent times like these, reaching every member of Congress is impactful—and it is especially important if your state is represented by one of the following members of either the House or Senate Interior Appropriations subcommittees:
Ken Calvert, California, Chairman
Mike Simpson, Idaho
Tom Cole, Oklahoma
David Joyce, Ohio
Chris Stewart, Utah, Vice Chair
Mark Amodei, Nevada
Evan Jenkins, West Virginia
Betty McCollum, Minnesota, Ranking Member
Chellie Pingree, Maine
Derek Kilmer, Washington
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, Chair
Thad Cochran, Mississippi, Chair of Full Committee
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
Roy Blunt, Missouri
John Hoeven, North Dakota
Mitch McConnell, Kentucky, Majority Leader
Steve Daines, Montana
Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia
Tom Udall, New Mexico, Ranking Member
Diane Feinstein, California
Patrick Leahy, Vermont
Jack Reed, Rhode Island
Jon Tester, Montana
Jeff Merkley, Oregon
Chris Van Hollen, Maryland
Thank you for your timely outreach and enthusiasm in support of the National Endowment for the Arts. Congress has heard loud and clear that the NEA is a valued part of the federal government. By continuing to make this case, I am confident that we, along with our champions in Congress, will be able to preserve the NEA and make it even stronger moving forward.
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