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President Trump’s FY2018 Budget Continues Call for Elimination of Federal Cultural Agencies - Update

Legislative Update | Federal Support for the Arts and Art Education

President Trump’s detailed budget for FY2018, released on May 23, and this proposed budget shows an elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), among other federal agencies and programs. It is important to recognize that Congress will be determining what is actually in the FY2018 budget.  

NAEA Update on these Developments:  NAEA at the table

This week NAEA’s Policy & Legislative Liaison, Kathi Levin, participated in the monthly meeting of the Cultural Advocacy Group which represents the national arts and cultural organizations’ service organizations. Discussion about the President’s Proposed Budget and the Federal Budget process resulted in a consensus decision to stay the course on requesting $155 for the National Endowment for the Arts, given the fact that the resolution of the FY17 budget included a $2 million increase for the agency and that there is strong bi-partisan support for the National Endowment for the Arts.  

Next Step: Congressional Subcommittee Budget Proposals

Between late June into July, the next step will be the development of Federal Budget proposals by Congressional Committees. The Cultural Advocacy Group discussed having meetings with members of these subcommittees to support funding of $155 million to the NEA within their requests, as well as having constituents in their districts contacting these elected officials in support of the NEA and funding of all cultural agencies. Once the budget proposals are released by the House and Senate subcommittees – in this case Interior Appropriations for the NEA – the group will determine next steps depending on the funding levels proposed to the full Congress by the subcommittees.  

Funding for ESSA, Title IV Part A – Well-Rounded Education Funding

Congressional leaders heard budget testimony from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos late last week. The testimony was broadcast live on various media outlets, including CSPAN, and is available online.  Strong concerns about student financial aid, equal access, and civil rights issues were discussed at the hearing. Based on the concerns of Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a letter encouraging support for full funding of Title IV-Part A, the Well-Rounded Education provisions within ESSA, was drafted and a large number of senators signed on. The original intention was to fund this program at $400 million but it was zeroed out in the President’s Budget. The House and Senate Subcommittees on Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education have jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Education appropriations. The deadline for states to file their ESSA plans is September.

Here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Reach out to Congressional representatives from your state who serve on Congressional Subcommittees. Committee lists are available here. Share your story about why the arts and arts education matter to you, your students, and your community.
  • You can use Voter Voice to send a customizable message to your member of Congress.
  • Share the VoterVoice e-alert with stakeholders and be sure to post on social media. Sample tweet and FB post is below:
    • Tweet: Proposed Trump #SkinnyBudget eliminates [@NEAarts]@NEAarts funding. Tell your representative we need to #SAVEtheNEA.  
    • Facebook post: The National Endowment for the Arts is popular among members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Yet President Trump’s proposed budget calls for a total elimination of funding for the NEA. Now it’s up to Congress to decide—and up to us to remind Congress of the value of the arts. Contact your elected representatives and ask them to #SAVEtheNEA

Resources:

  • NAEA website has posted the Issues Briefs on ESSA, Arts in Education Funding, and many more within the advocacy area of our website.
  • Americans for the Arts created an update on the NEA in the Arts Mobilization Center and a Statement for the press.
  • Americans for the Arts advertising campaign has been placing full-page ads in The Hill, Roll Call, and Politico. See the advertisements, and use them in your work by going to www.artsusa.org.
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