July 12, 2022
House Advances Funding Increase for NEA
Congress returns to session this week, following a break for the Fourth of July holiday. Greeting the members is an ambitious priority list. Before they adjourn at the end of the month, Democratic leadership hopes to be able to pass a trillion-dollar stimulus bill that will focus on several priorities critical to President Biden, including climate and prescription drug reform, negotiating a bipartisan agreement on a wide-ranging bill aimed at onshoring manufacturing jobs that currently reside in China, and making significant progress on the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill.
That last item is a primary focus for arts advocates, as we are all urging the Congress to, at a minimum, endorse the President’s budget proposal for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which would raise funding for the agency from its current level of $180 million to $203.55 million. We were quite pleased when the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee not only met that number but exceeded it, approving $207 million. We at NASAA are grateful for this strong showing of bipartisan support, particularly to Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and David Joyce (R-OH) for their hard work.
While this news is obviously exciting, it is important to note that approval by the House committee is just the first step in a long process. The bill must now be approved by the full House of Representatives, and the Senate will design its own proposal. Last year, the Senate was not willing to match the House’s larger proposal for the NEA, though it did recommend an increase.
Therefore, if you have not done so, I would strongly suggest that you reach out to your two senators and urge them to support funding the NEA at at least the House-approved figure of $207 million. It is important for each senator to hear from their constituents that support at this level will be recognized and appreciated. As always, in making this request, I suggest you make the following points:
- First, thank them for supporting an increase in funding for the Arts Endowment in last year’s budget.
- Next, urge them to support matching the House’s proposal of $207 million. In doing so, please convey our gratitude that Congress continues to endorse the federal-state partnership that allocates 40% of all grant funding to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations. Remind your senators that public funding for arts and creativity is a high-return investment that strengthens every city, town and rural community nationwide.
- Finally, take the opportunity to update their offices about developments within your agency. Next month, the Senate will take its longest recess, not retuning to D.C. until after Labor Day—and this break is the ideal time to invite your senators and their staff to visit your agency or attend an exciting or meaningful arts event. It’s also a natural way to relay just how valuable federal investment in the arts is to their community.
I want to thank all of you for your continued support for the NEA. Should you have any questions as you prepare for this outreach, please do not hesitate to let me know.
In this Issue
From the President and CEO
State to State
- Connecticut: Summer at the Museum
- Rhode Island: General Operating Support Grants
- Montana: Montana Circle of American Masters
The Research Digest
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