September 13, 2022
How to Convince Your Senators to Boost NEA Funding
Following a shortened August recess that allowed Congress to pass the President’s signature legislative achievement thus far, the Inflation Reduction Act, Congress returned to session this week. Greeting those members upon their return is the pending deadline for fiscal year 2023 appropriations. Current funding is set to expire at the end of this month, and while efforts have been made to pass a full funding bill for the upcoming year, it is increasingly likely that Congress will have to resort to a short-term continuing resolution in order to avoid a government shutdown, as considerable work must still be done to prepare that bill for passage.
An example of the type of work that remains can be seen regarding the funding of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The House proposed and passed a funding level for FY2023 of $207 million, whereas the Senate has thus far offered $195 million. Both figures represent an increase over the agency’s current level of $180 million, but the delta between the two chambers is yet to be resolved.
Of course, we as arts advocates are doing everything we can to win the Senate’s support for the House’s figure, including meetings with members of the Appropriations Committee. To fuel these efforts, we encourage you to contact your senators to urge that they support funding for the Endowment at the House’s proposed level of $207 million. State arts agencies are in an especially advantageous position to make this request: since 40% of all grant dollars allocated to the NEA go to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations, we can draw a direct correlation between federal funding and the services we provide at the state level.
If you have not spoken to your senators already, I would encourage you to think specifically about how additional federal funding to your agency would allow you to deliver even greater impact for your community. This is the type of information that helps senators and staff advocate for the NEA, as every dollar spent to increase funding for the arts must be offset by a reduction to another domestic spending program.
Thank you again for your tremendous efforts on behalf of the NEA. I have no doubt that it has made a huge impact and will continue to do so moving forward.
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