NASAA Notes: October 2020

October 6, 2020

Federal Budget, Relief Negotiations Face Obstacles

With November’s election for President and Congress less than a month away, several important and time-sensitive issues remain unresolved. First and foremost, the President’s contraction of the coronavirus has inserted tremendous uncertainty into the negotiations over another round of stimulus funding to deal with the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic. Further, the spread of the disease among members of Congress (at the time of publication, three senators have tested positive and are quarantining) has compelled Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to announce that the Senate will take a two-week recess, in the hopes of preventing further spread and to allow those already sick to recover.

One must-pass piece of legislation that was pushed across the finish line was a continuing resolution, signed into law before October 1, that provides funding to federal agencies until December 11. Members of the House, Senate and Trump administration will continue to work on a traditional appropriations bill with the goal of passing it before that date. The discussions regarding the next COVID-19 relief bill continue to proceed on an uneven trajectory. Last week, after negotiations broke down between the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House considered and passed its own bill, which is largely viewed as a messaging document since it was developed without input from the White House, and Senate Republican leaders have already stated that the proposal will not be considered.

While that bill appears to be little more than the next phase in a longer negotiation, there were, nonetheless, several provisions worth noting. Most significant to us as arts advocates is that it included $135 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $436 billion in aid for state and local governments, a new round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, and an extension of the $600 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Fund. The legislation also included $10 billion in grant funding for live independent venues, including nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

As negotiations continue, it is not clear whether these arts related provisions will be part of the final agreement (should there be one). It is certainly our hope that they will, and NASAA will keep you apprised as developments unfold. Should the discussions make this possible, we will reach out to you with talking points you can use to contact your elected officials in Congress to urge inclusion of this funding for the Arts Endowment and other arts related provisions.

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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