NASAA Notes: November 2020

November 3, 2020

With Election Results Pending, Outlook for 2021 Uncertain

Heading into Tuesday’s election, many experts predicted a razor-thin outcome, and those predictions appear to have proved correct. At the time of writing this column, the President holds a narrowing lead in many battleground states, while control of the Senate, which will be vital to supporting the agenda of the eventual President, is too close to call (though appearing to trend favorably for the Republicans).

For ardent supporters of the arts, this uncertainty raises a number of questions. Like you, I am sure, I was hoping to have more clarity about the result at this time; but I am grateful, particularly in times like these, that support for the arts and the National Endowment for the Arts has evolved from being a lightning rod for political debate to one of the few areas of genuine bipartisan support. We’ll need this support now, as our community has been deeply rocked by the continuing economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, and it appears that the two chambers of Congress will once again be run by different parties.

While the votes are still being counted, there are things we know we can focus on and prepare for. Regardless of the election’s outcome, Congress and President Trump will have to negotiate an end-of-year spending package, which will include an appropriation for the Arts Endowment. Earlier this year, the House passed a fiscal year 2021 budget of $170 million for the agency, an increase of $7.5 million. Negotiations on this bill are expected to commence in the next week or so, so if you have the opportunity to do so, please let your House and Senate members know that you support funding the Endowment at $170 million. I would also use this window of time to preview with your legislators upcoming programming and initiatives your agency will be undertaking next year. This information will be invaluable to members as they weigh whether to increase funding.

Another open question is whether Congress and President Trump will work on another round of economic stimulus. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who was reelected on Tuesday, expressed interest in passing a narrow recovery package before the end of the year. While details are yet to be established, his remarks are a clear indication that the negotiations between the House, which has already passed a broad funding bill, and the Senate remain complicated. As events unfold, we are prepared in the event such an opportunity arises. Therefore, please be on the lookout for updates from us about any developments in this regard. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out with any specific questions, and I will do my best to answer them.

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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