May 2, 2022
Support Increased Funding for NEA in FY2023
Last week, Congress returned to session after a two-week recess. It faces a daunting schedule. On the agenda are negotiations around two signature pieces of the Biden agenda: a spending package previously known as the Build Back Better Act, which would infuse almost $2 trillion into the economy to invest in climate policies and a series of social programs such as universal pre-K, and a piece of legislation called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, aimed at spurring manufacturing in the United States and addressing competitiveness issues with China. While this work is under way, members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees are planning to accelerate their work on the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bills.
Last week alone, there were 18 different hearings with members of the Biden administration testifying and taking questions related to the President’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. While the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was not under review at any of these meetings, we do expect the House Interior Subcommittee (which has jurisdiction over the NEA’s budget) to release its proposal sometime this month. Last year, that committee matched the President’s request for the NEA of $201 million. While the House and Senate ultimately agreed upon a smaller increase (raising funding from $167.5 million to $180 million), we are hoping that the committee will at a minimum support the President’s ask for 2023, $203.55 million. Supporting the agency at this level will allow it to continue to broaden access to the cultural, educational and economic benefits of the arts and to advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States, all while continuing to support the federal-state partnership that directs 40% of the NEA’s grant funding to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations.
For Congress to complete its work on the appropriations bills before September 30, it will have to move quite quickly. Therefore, if you have not done so yet, this is the ideal time to reach out to your congressional delegation and urge them to support increased funding for the Arts Endowment. In doing so, we encourage you to make the following points:
- Urge Congress to endorse the administration’s $203.55 million request for the National Endowment for the Arts for FY2023, and thank the member for their support of the federal-state partnership that allocates 40% of the agency’s grant funding to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations.
- Remind them that public funding for arts and creativity is a high-return investment that strengthens every city, town and rural community nationwide.
- Take the opportunity to share an update about your agency and how this increase in funding would allow your work to thrive.
If you have any specific questions about how to approach your representatives, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to take time out of your schedule to make these calls, emails or visits. The NEA has been the beneficiary of strong, bipartisan support in recent years, and that has come because of your dedicated advocacy—so keep up the great work!
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