May 26, 2011

Is federal arts funding important to you? Congress needs to know now.

The House Appropriations Committee this week has begun drafting spending bills for fiscal year 2012. The Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, with responsibility for setting the funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), has not yet set a date for its mark-up session, but action is expected in the subcommittee in mid-June following a Memorial Day recess.

Members of Congress from both parties tell us that they need to hear from constituents about the value of federal funding for the arts. In this legislative session, where all attention is on paring down the size of the federal government by cutting funds and eliminating programs, it is essential that advocates take a moment to contact their representatives in Congress urging support for NEA funding.
TAKE ACTION: Now is the time to act by contacting your state's representatives in Congress. Current NEA funding is at $155 million, and the president's budget proposes a cut to $146 million. The administration's budget also exempts proposed funds for the Our Town initiative from the 40% share of program funds mandated by Congress in 1997 for allocation to state arts agencies.
  • Urge your representatives to set the NEA funding for 2012 at $167.5 million, the same funding level as in 2010.
  • Stipulate that all program funds, including Our Town, be available as mandated for the 40% allocation to state arts agencies.
Let your legislators know the importance of increasing funds to the NEA to assist you in your work of expanding involvement in the arts and promoting cultural opportunities for the citizens of your state, particularly at a time when arts organizations are feeling the effects of the economic downturn.

Over the next two weeks, please
contact your state's representatives by e-mail or by phone through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Members of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, listed here, have initial responsibility for drafting the funding bill providing for the NEA in 2012. Please make a special effort to ask advocates from your state to contact these legislators if your state's representative is listed here.

House Interior Subcommittee Members

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID,) Chair
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH)
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), Ranking Member
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY)

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