NASAA Notes: July 2017

July 13, 2017

House Proposes Modest NEA Funding Reduction for FY2018

After months of waiting, the U.S. House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee introduced and approved legislation this week that would fund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for fiscal year 2018. Always a critical point in the appropriations process, this year’s figure was especially anticipated because President Trump’s budget request to Congress for FY2018 calls for eliminating the agency. Since that news broke, NASAA, and most importantly our members, have worked closely with our colleagues at other arts advocacy organizations to make the case to Congress that eliminating the agency would be a grave mistake. We have been fortunate throughout this process to have been in constant contact with key members of Congress from both political parties who assured us that the President’s view on the NEA is not widely shared on Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday, we saw evidence of that when the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee (which has jurisdiction over the NEA’s budget), released its draft legislation funding the NEA for fiscal year 2018. That bill rejects the President’s recommendation for elimination and would fund the NEA at $145 million, a $5 million reduction from its current level. While NASAA and other arts organizations began the year by asking Congress to increase funding for the agency to $155 million, there is no question that the House’s decision to largely ignore the President’s request and only modestly reduce funding is a strong statement of the bipartisan support the Endowment enjoys in Congress. By comparison, the Department of the Interior, whose budget is in the same bill as the NEA’s, would receive $824 million less than its current level.

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee passed the bill unanimously and the chairman of the full committee, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) made a point to say in his closing remarks, “This bill also provides investments in our National Endowment[s] for the Arts and Humanities, which I strongly support.”

While we are grateful that the bill would preserve the NEA and the agency would face only a modest reduction, opportunities remain to try to influence the process and increase the NEA’s budget allocation for FY2018. Next week, the full House Appropriations Committee is expected to hold a hearing to mark up the bill. If you are represented by a member of the full committee (list below), please contact your member of Congress and make the following points:

  • Thank the committee for rejecting the President’s proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Urge the member to support (at least) the NEA’s current funding level of $150 million. (Acknowledge the arts community’s $155 million request if you think the member would be willing to entertain an increase in this political environment.)
  • Urge that the committee continue to support the federal-state partnership that allocates 40% of all NEA grant funds directly to state and regional arts organizations.
  • Try to contextualize the proposed cut to the NEA by highlighting some of the recent projects and events you’ve undertaken at your state arts agency.

If you are not represented by a member of this committee, there will be further opportunities to weigh in as the process unfolds. The Senate will undertake its own appropriations process. While timing has not been announced, the Senate Appropriations Committee has begun holding hearings related to other federal agencies and could release its budget proposal for the NEA at any time. NASAA will continue to keep you updated.

I want to thank all of our members and colleagues who have been so dutiful in reaching out to your elected officials and making the case for why federal investment in the arts is so critical to states. As weeks like this one demonstrate, it has a palpable impact on the outcome.

House Appropriations Committee

Republicans
Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey, Chairman
Harold Rogers, Kentucky
Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama
Kay Granger, Texas
Michael K. Simpson, Idaho
John Abney Culberson, Texas
John R. Carter, Texas
Ken Calvert, California
Tom Cole, Oklahoma
Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania
Tom Graves, Georgia
Kevin Yoder, Kansas
Steve Womack, Arkansas
Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska
Thomas J. Rooney, Florida
Charles J. Fleischmann, Tennessee
Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington
David P. Joyce, Ohio
David G. Valadao, California
Andy Harris, M.D., Maryland
Martha Roby, Alabama
Mark E. Amodei, Nevada
Chris Stewart, Utah
David Young, Iowa
Evan H. Jenkins, West Virginia
Steven Palazzo, Mississippi
Dan Newhouse, Washington
John R. Moolenaar, Michigan
Scott Taylor, Virginia

Democrats
Nita M. Lowey, New York
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana
José E. Serrano, New York
Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut
David E. Price, North Carolina
Lucille Roybal-Allard, California
Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Georgia
Barbara Lee, California
Betty McCollum, Minnesota
Tim Ryan, Ohio
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida
Henry Cuellar, Texas
Chellie Pingree, Maine
Mike Quigley, Illinois
Derek Kilmer, Washington
Matt Cartwright, Pennsylvania
Grace Meng, New York
Mark Pocan, Wisconsin
Katherine M. Clark, Massachusetts
Pete Aguilar, California

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Research on Demand

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