NASAA Notes: May 2023

May 1, 2023

Debt Ceiling Negotiations Could Impact FY2024 NEA Funding

As you know, in March President Biden signaled his support for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) when he proposed increasing the agency’s appropriation for fiscal year 2024 to $211 million. This step was significant in two respects. First, the continued support for the arts is important, and second, the submission of the President’s budget request is the first step in setting the budget for all federal agencies this year.

Since that time, the House Appropriations Committee has been working at a busy pace to try to complete work on all 12 appropriations bills. Just last week, it held hearings to consider the budgets of seven agencies. While the NEA’s proposed budget has not been released as of this writing, we certainly expect it to be made public soon. Speaker McCarthy has already made a commitment to ensure all 12 appropriations bills are passed this summer, which will require the committee and the House of Representatives to move quickly.

As I discussed in my April column, we expect the House’s initial figure for the Arts Endowment to be a reduction in funding from its current level of $207 million. Therefore, as we wait for the bill’s release, this is an ideal time to contact your members of Congress to urge them to support the President’s budget request of $211 million.

Also complicating these negotiations is the pending standoff over the debt ceiling. Estimates vary slightly, but the Treasury Department expects that its authority to borrow will be fully exhausted in June. Thus far the President has been adamant that he will not negotiate spending levels in return for an increase in the debt limit, while Republican leadership has put forth a series of proposed cuts (including reducing funding for the NEA and other domestic agencies to FY2022 levels).

While the arts are not specifically being discussed in these negotiations, I raise the issue because it is important to understand the context in which the larger budget is being negotiated. Should this debate become even more contentious, it could seriously limit the ability of Congress to be able to pass any appropriations bills before the current fiscal year expires on September 30. Further, it is certainly possible that some sort of mandatory spending reduction could also be part of the final agreement.

While we as arts advocates have limited ability to influence the debt ceiling discussions, we can certainly use this period of time to educate members of Congress and their staff about how vital arts funding is to the well-being of our communities, and to urge them to do everything they can to ensure that the President’s request ultimately becomes law.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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