May 3, 2021
Seeking Arts Support in Infrastructure and Budget Bills
Last week, on the eve of his 100th day in office, President Biden spoke to a joint session of Congress for the first time. In his remarks, the President laid out an ambitious agenda that includes robust investment in an infrastructure package he hopes to pass by the end of the fiscal year. That legislation, which his administration has called the American Jobs Plan, is the next phase in the President’s economic revitalization program and builds on the American Relief Act, which was passed last month and provided almost $2 trillion in funding to help individuals, communities and businesses.
The House and Senate are now working to develop this bill, which is expected to cost at least $3 trillion and would span a wide range of sectors in the economy. The primary areas of focus are the transportation and energy sectors—but as arts advocates we are in close touch to determine if there may be opportunities to support the arts and artists as the bill comes together.
Also front and center in Washington over the next few months will be passage of the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill. As is often the case in the first year of a President’s term, the process was delayed as the administration worked to build a team and simultaneously focused on passing the American Relief Act. Despite the late start, we understand that congressional leaders have committed to passing all 12 bills on schedule.
As arts advocates, we are of course quite focused on the National Endowment for the Arts and what its funding level will be next year. While the President’s budget request has not been publicly released yet, we got a good indication last month when the House Arts Caucus sent a letter to members of the House urging support for the agency of at least $176 million. Should Congress act upon this funding level, this would represent an $8.5 million increase in funding for the agency over its current appropriation.
Once we have more information, NASAA will be in touch about opportunities to engage Congress as the bill moves through the process. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about either the appropriations bill or the upcoming infrastructure package.
In this Issue
From the President and CEO
State to State
- New York: Excelsior Digital Pass for COVID-19 Status
- Wyoming: Native Art Fellowship
- Nebraska: Winding Down Workshop Series
The Research Digest
Announcements and Resources
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