U.S. Senate approves legislation for the first time in six years to level fund the National Endowment for the Arts
It’s been a fast-paced appropriations season so far! Today, the U.S. Senate approved legislation (for the first time in six years!) in subcommittee to level fund the National Endowment for the Arts.
The U.S. House also kept its pace for rapid consideration, approving its NEA funding bill in full committee today as well. Tomorrow, the bill that funds the federal museum agency and arts education is on tap for consideration (first time in three years!) in another House subcommittee. And on Thursday, the Senate returns to consider its bill to fund the NEA in full committee.
Despite the substantial effort in Congress to advance bills in a timely way, the Administration last night issued a veto threat to the bill because of its numerous policy riders, thwarting any expected advancement.
What you need to know
Last week, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved a bill providing sustained funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. All the cultural institutions, like the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution, also were proposed at level funding.
Today, the full committee reported out this legislation on a 30-21 vote, enabling it to next be considered on the House floor.
During full committee consideration, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) offered an amendment to boost funding for both the NEA and the NEH to the President’s request. This is roughly a $2 million increase to $148 million. Although his amendment did not receive a vote, Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), David Price (D-NC), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) all spoke favorably on his amendment. Rep. Pingree noted the work of the Maine Humanities Council in her district; Rep. Israel spoke about Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families, a publication of the NEA. A writer himself, Rep. Israel shared his interest to scale up healing arts therapy work with veterans going forward and in more areas across the country. Rep. Price shared with his colleagues another publication, the Heart of the Matter, tucking it in also as recommended reading. Rep. Price also shared with all appropriators that NEA and NEH are funded well below their historical levels. He compared funds to 1992 and said with just inflation, we’d be investing nearly double had we just retained those levels. You can watch today’s proceedings at this webcast link in which Rep. Israel's amendment can be found at the 2:57 timestamp.
The Senate subcommittee also considered their version today. Both NEA and NEH are also proposed for level funding. The subcommittee’s statement can be found here. The full committee will consider the bill on Thursday.
House floor votes could occur as soon as the last week in June, prior to the 4th of July congressional recess. As the process moves forward, the NEA and other cultural agencies may be prime targets for proposed cuts, if history is any lesson. We will keep you posted on any harmful amendments as the bills head toward the House or Senate floor.
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives brought to the floor the FY’24 Interior appropriations bill with two floor amendments introduced by Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Scott Perry (PA-10) that would have eliminated all future funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Both amendments were soundly defeated in a bipartisan fashion with 100% support of Democrats and nearly 40% of Republicans voting against the amendments.
This victory is due, in no small part, to the hard work of arts advocates, like you, across the country. While more work needs to be done for the House to match the Senate's higher appropriations amount of $207 million each for the NEA and NEH for FY'24, this vote demonstrates the influence arts advocates have when united to support important federal arts and humanities programs.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, it is important to take a moment to thank the House Members who voted against these egregious amendments. These 292 House Members worked in a bipartisan fashion to protect arts funding and puts Congress on a path to match last year’s funding levels of $207 million each.
Please thank Members of Congress today who voted down these amendments on the House floor that would have eliminated NEA and NEH funding.
Be Informed - Know Your Facts - Speak Out to Support the Arts - Read the House & Senate Action on FY24 Appropriations - www.artsactionfund.org
This year at Creativation by Namta 2023 in Columbus, OH , Namta created an alliance with a local organization called Directions for Youth and Families (DFYF). Directions improves lives of individuals, families, and communities through counseling, education and support. What better way to do this than through the creative channel. Because of the generosity of several of Namta members, during Creativation by Namta in Columbus, OH a mural which expressed Directions mission was created by participants from the program. This mural will be displayed in Directions new facility. This was just the first endeavor for Namta to leave its' mark on the community where we came together to celebrate creativity. The collaborative project between Directions and Namta was the first of an on-going initiative for Namta to develop community partnerships in all future Creativation by Namta host cities.