December 6, 2022
The New Congress, the Budget and the Arts
Earlier this week, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) successfully won reelection for another six-year term. The conclusion of that race marked the end of a close and contentious midterm election cycle. With the result now known, members of Congress and President Biden can work intensely to finish unresolved business before the legislative session ends this month.
At the top of the docket is the fiscal year 2023 budget. As you know, the House and Senate have both proposed increasing the National Endowment for Arts (NEA) budget. (The House passed a figure of $207 million and the Senate offered $195 million.) As arts advocates we are doing everything we can to encourage members of both chambers to support the higher figure, while understanding the considerable budgetary pressures they are facing.
While this conversation is ongoing, an agreement on the funding package is in question. With Democrats currently holding razor-thin majorities in both chambers, and Republicans set to take over the House in 2023, there are a number of representatives and senators who would prefer that no deal be made and that, instead, Congress approve a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which would allow the government to continue operating at its current funding levels.
Although this outcome would avoid a government shutdown, it would mean that for at least the duration of the CR, the NEA would not be able to operate at the proposed levels. It is important to note that funding for the arts is not one of the issues under debate; we are cautiously optimistic that the agency will garner an increase, either at the end of this year or early next year.
In the meantime, we at NASAA are preparing to work with the new congressional leadership in the new year. Not only will the Republican Party have new control of the House, but the long-time Democratic leadership in the chamber, headed by Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), is stepping down and being replaced by a new trio of leaders. We will be working to establish relationships with the new leaders so that we can continue to have a constructive, bipartisan dialogue about the value of federal investment in the arts and the importance of the federal-state partnership.
As we take these steps, I suggest that you reach out to your delegation and offer to be a resource during this transition. If you have any questions about your members of Congress or how best to approach them, please do not hesitate to contact me.
In this Issue
From the President and CEO
State to State
The Research Digest
Announcements and Resources
More Notes from NASAASubscribe
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