June 7, 2023
NEA Budget Uncertain after Debt Ceiling Deal
Last week, after many of months of negotiation, President Biden and Congress were able to avoid an economic catastrophe by coming to an agreement to suspend the nation’s borrowing limit until January 2025. In making the deal, President Biden is now able to remove any doubt about the debt ceiling until after his first term. To agree to this, congressional Republicans were able to secure a number of concessions from the President, including an agreement to reduce domestic discretionary spending in fiscal year 2024 and to limit discretionary spending to one percent growth in FY2025. The package also imposes new work requirements for social welfare programs, claws back funding for the Internal Revenue Service and ends the President’s moratorium on student loan payments.
What this agreement means for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and other arts programs is not entirely clear, other than that these initiatives will be under even more scrutiny than before. This is because, while the agreement puts budget caps in place for the next two years, the deal does not set allocations for specific agencies—and so the House and Senate appropriations committees are already hard at work modifying the FY2024 bills to meet the agreed-upon terms.
All this portends that we as arts advocates are facing a very difficult test over the next few months. Congress is mandated to reduce domestic spending, and the Arts Endowment is certainly not immune. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to take the opportunity now to urge your congressional delegation to at least maintain level funding for the NEA for the coming year. In doing so, keep in mind that many of the offices you will be speaking with are likely just as concerned by the limitations that have been put in place as we are. We can offer them solid data and information about how pivotal federal support has been for local and state arts efforts. Describing how NEA funding has directly benefited their community is one of the most impactful ways you can provide staff and members of Congress with the information they need to protect the NEA in this challenging time.
While we don’t know the specific timing, we expect the House Appropriations Committee to try to move as early as this month, so touching base as soon as possible will be helpful. As always, we at NASAA are grateful for your help in these key moments. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any specific questions.
In this Issue
From the President and CEO
State to State
- Nebraska and Tennessee: Folk and Traditional Arts Programs
- Oregon: Arts and Culture Caucus
- Hawaiʻi: Supporting Native Hawaiians in Public Art
The Research Digest
Announcements and Resources
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