NASAA Notes: December 2018

December 5, 2018

Continuing Resolution May Continue…

With the 2018 midterm elections finally resolved and members of Congress from both parties thinking about 2019 and beyond, the one sentiment that appears to be unifying legislators from both parties is their desire to wrap up their work and adjourn for the remainder of the year. Despite this unifying preference, at the time of this writing congressional leadership and President Trump still appear to be far from reaching an agreement on funding for the seven agencies that are currently operating under a continuing resolution, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). With Congress limiting activity this week so that it can properly recognize former President George H. W. Bush in the Capitol, the House and Senate have passed a short-term funding bill that extends the current continuing resolution through December 21. The president is expected to sign the measure before midnight on December 7 in order to avert a partial government shutdown. But this short-term extension leaves many fiscal year 2019 funding issues unresolved.

The primary point of disagreement remains the President’s position that any legislation continuing funding for the federal government must include substantial funding to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. To date, Democrats in the Senate have opposed the funding levels requested by President Trump, and since Senate rules require 60 votes to pass appropriations bills, Republican leadership will need at least nine Democrats to support the wall funding. What this impasse means for the NEA, unfortunately, is that until these differences are resolved, the agency will continue to be funded at $153 million, rather than the $155 million that was approved by the House and Senate earlier this year. It is quite possible that the ultimate decision will be to pass a longer continuing resolution that funds government agencies for several months.

As negotiations continue on funding, members of Congress are going about setting the agenda for next year. We fully expect the Democrat-led House of Representatives to focus on oversight duties, but it could dedicate a considerable amount of effort to trying to pass an infrastructure bill. NASAA plans to monitor these discussions closely and engage during this process to identify opportunities for artists and art focused organizations and state arts agencies to be a part of this process. In the meantime, if your organization has ideas about ways that funding for the arts could fit within the construct of an infrastructure proposal, please don’t hesitate to let me know. You can reach me at any time at isaac@38northsolutions.com.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

Announcements and Resources

Legislative Update

State to State

Research on Demand

More Notes from NASAA

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