September 1, 2021
Congress Prepares for Busy Work Period
The last week of August is usually a calm one in Washington, D.C., with members of Congress spread out across the country enjoying time off and spending time with their constituents. This year, however, has turned out to be one of the busiest in recent memory, and the level of activity forced staff and many elected officials to remain in Washington. What required them to do so is the significant amount of work that lies before Congress in September: funding for government agencies expires on September 30, as will funding for transportation programs; the debt limit is set to be breached in early fall; and Democrats have set a September 28 deadline to pass the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, as well a larger $3.5 trillion package.
How Congress plans to pack everything into the next 30 days is hard to imagine, but members are setting aggressive timelines to do so. This means that any pressing matters that can be pushed down the road likely will be. While understandable, this is somewhat disappointing for arts advocates because a clear candidate for delay is the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill. In fact, Congress is already discussing passing a short-term continuing resolution that will allow all federal agencies to operate at their existing funding levels. As a result, the projected increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), to $201 million, would be postponed.
We certainly will know more about the projected timeline for the NEA’s budget bill in the coming weeks, but if you haven’t done so already, this is an excellent time to contact your elected officials in the Senate and urge them to support funding the agency at $201 million, the level already approved in the House of Representatives and endorsed in the President’s FY2022 budget request. As always, I would also encourage you to thank Congress for continuing to support the federal-state partnership that allocates 40% of all NEA grant dollars to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations.
Please stay tuned over the next few days as more information becomes available. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.
In this Issue
From the President and CEO
State to State
- New Jersey, Maryland, Puerto Rico, Vermont: Virtual Art Exhibitions
- Colorado: Community Revitalization Grant
The Research Digest
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