NASAA Notes: July 2020

July 8, 2020

House Bill Proposes Arts Increase; Contact Your Senators

This week, Congress demonstrated once again that the growing, bipartisan support we’ve seen for the National Endowment for the Arts in recent years continues to thrive, even in the midst of an economic and health crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus. On Tuesday, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved an increase in funding for the agency of $7.5 million for fiscal year 2021.

The proposed funding level, $170 million, matches the request made by NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux, in her testimony before the committee in January, and that of other national arts service organizations. It also reiterates support for the Arts Endowment’s historic partnership with states that directs 40% of all grant funds to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations.

While we are thrilled by this development, many steps still lie ahead. As of now, it is believed that the full House of Representatives will pass this bill by the end of the month. The process from there is less clear. The Senate is expected to begin work on and release its FY2021 appropriations bill soon after it resumes work next week.

The goal, of course, is to get all 12 appropriations bills completed and signed into law before the current fiscal year ends on September 30. Doing that, however, could be a challenge. Congress is expected to adjourn in early August for the presidential nominating conventions and then return to D.C. for only a few brief weeks in September, before again recessing until after the November elections.

As a result, it is likely that Congress will ultimately need to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government until at least after the election. In the meantime, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your senators and:

  1. thank them for supporting an increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts in the FY2020 appropriations bill;
  2. urge the Senate to adopt the House’s funding figure of $170 million for the Arts Endowment in FY2021, and to include support for the federal-state partnership;
  3. share an update about your state arts agency, and describe how federal support for the arts plays an integral role in supporting your work.

I’d like to thank all of you for your hard work getting to this point. It is important to remember that we began this funding cycle with the president once again calling for the elimination of the Endowment. That Congress not only is opposed to that recommendation but also is supporting funding increases, particularly in this difficult environment, speaks to the efficacy of your work in the community. So thank you!

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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