December 1, 2021
Steady As She Goes: Urge NEA Increase for 2022
Following a recess for the Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. House and Senate returned to session this week facing some near-term deadlines. With current funding for the federal government set to expire on December 3, on December 2 Congress agreed to another continuing resolution extending current funding until February 18. While there was optimism initially that the fiscal year 2022 bill would be ready to be voted on by December 3, it is clear that more work is left to do. A budget extension of this length is warranted because of the amount of attention that has been placed upon passage of the Build Back Better Act, the signature legislation of the Biden presidency that would inject almost $1.9 trillion into the economy and focus on climate and social safety net programs.
The impact of this delay is real for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), as it means the agency will need to wait longer to receive the additional funding Congress plans to appropriate for the next fiscal year. As you may recall, the House has proposed funding the NEA at $201 million and the Senate has put forth a figure of $182.5 million. While we as arts advocates strongly prefer the House’s number, it is worth noting that either represents a significant increase over the Endowment’s current appropriation of $167.5 million.
Congress is currently determining the NEA’s funding level for next year between those two figures. Therefore, if you have not done so yet, now is the ideal time to contact your member of Congress and urge them to support funding at the House’s proposed figure of $201 million. In doing so, please take the opportunity to highlight programs and initiatives your agency has undertaken over the last year, and use it as an example of how additional funding for the NEA benefits states across the country, as a result of the unprecedented partnership between states and the federal government that allocates 40% of federal grant dollars to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations. As you prepare for this conversation, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have.
In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your hard work and commitment during this very difficult year. I am grateful for your support, and can assure you that it makes a significant impact in winning over the hearts and minds of members of Congress and staff.
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