NASAA Notes: December 2020

December 1, 2020

FY2021 Budget, COVID-19 Aid, Working with Next President and Congress

This week, members of the House and Senate are expected to return to Washington after a brief recess last week for the Thanksgiving holiday. Awaiting their return are critical and sensitive negotiations surrounding funding for federal agencies and whether to enact further relief for communities impacted by COVID-19 as cases of the virus grow throughout the country.

First on the agenda this week is the continuation of negotiations between the House, Senate and Trump administration over fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills. With current funding set to expire on December 11, a major hurdle was crossed last week when leadership was able to reach an agreement on the overall funding across all agencies. This agreement creates the pathway for resolving differences between the House and Senate. While a lot of work is left to be done, members are optimistic that a deal can ultimately be reached.

There is less optimism about further COVID-19 relief being passed this year, as the Democratic leadership in the House and Republican leadership in the Senate remain apart in what they view as an appropriate response to the state of the pandemic and the economy. The impasse is so fixed at this point that President-Elect Joe Biden took the unusual step of publicly imploring Democrats in Congress to find middle ground with their Republican counterparts. Work on a new round of support will continue, but at the time of publication, the chances of achieving anything—beyond perhaps extending expired support for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program and a continuation of unemployment insurance—seem unlikely.

For our part as arts advocates, we continue to urge Congress and the Trump administration to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on artists. Specifically, we are asking Congress to fund the National Endowment for the Arts at the House-approved level of $170 million, and also hope that additional relief can be provided for communities impacted by the health and economic crises. It is our sincere hope that Congress and President Trump will be able to provide this much-needed aid.

Simultaneously, we are looking ahead to the next administration and the 117th Congress. NASAA is in dialogue with President-Elect Biden’s transition team, highlighting the importance of the arts and state arts agencies to economic recovery, community resilience, racial equity and other core priorities of the incoming administration. We also are working in coalition with other arts and humanities advocates to underscore the importance of the arts to members of the new administration as well as new members of Congress who will take office in January. As always, NASAA will appreciate your active involvement as we work to help recently elected officials and their staff to recognize the crucial importance of the arts to their districts. Now is a good time to begin mapping your relationships and doing background research to inform positive outreach strategies.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions as these events unfold.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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