NASAA Notes: January 2024

January 3, 2024

NEA 2024 Funding Awaits Action in Congress

Congress plans to return to D.C. next week following a lengthy holiday recess. When it does, members will be confronted with a time line to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2024 (which began on October 1, 2023, and ends on September 30, 2024). You may recall that when Congress extended current funding for the federal government in November, it chose to fund some agencies only until January 19; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is one of the agencies that has funding in place until February 2.

So far, negotiations between House Republicans and Senate Democrats are not inspiring a lot of optimism that a deal can be reached. Even the most basic tenet of an agreement, a top-line spending figure for the entire budget, has not been settled upon. Without this number in place, it is almost impossible to negotiate the terms for particular agencies and programs, which is where a lot of the difficult decisions must be made. The crux of this disagreement is based on the fact that Democrats—and Senate Republicans—feel that the top-line number should be the figure already signed into law as part of the bipartisan debt-limit deal passed last year. Republican leadership in the House, however, is seeking even deeper reductions.

Also complicating the negotiations a debt-limit agreement provision that garnered little attention at the time: if Congress has not passed all 12 funding bills by April 30 of this year, a mandatory spending reduction of 1% (known as sequestration) would be put into effect. At the time of the bill’s passage, the risk of such a scenario seemed low, but with each passing day it appears more likely.

For those of us who are focused on supporting the Arts Endowment, our work remains. We wholeheartedly endorse the bipartisan group of senators urging Congress to support the previously agreed upon spending levels, so that Congress can set about finalizing the appropriations process. We are also deeply supportive of the legislation passed on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis that would maintain level funding for the NEA. In this environment, such an outcome would be a major vote of confidence for the agency and its impact.

It is our hope that members of Congress will be able to work together in the next few weeks to finalize the FY2024 appropriations process. The potential for an-across-the-board cut in funding of 1% would have a real and tangible impact on communities across the country.

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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