House Committee Defers NEA Funding Decision Until September
August 1, 2013
Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee held an impassioned first day of debate on an FY14 funding bill that would advance to the full House of Representatives, among other recommendations, a severe 49% cut to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Interior bill faces an overall 19% reduction, and the proposal to disproportionately slash the NEA’s budget currently remains in the bill despite an attempt by Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY-17) and David Price (D-NC-4) to restore funding to the President’s requested level of $154.5 million. The amendment was defeated by a party line vote of 19-27, and Committee leadership again referred to programs that are slated for elimination and reduction as “nice to do,” rather than “must do” programs. The Committee’s work on the hotly-debated funding bill is unfinished, and members will resume discussion and consideration of more amendments after returning from their August recess.
With the fiscal year ending on September 30, time is running out for the Interior bill to be completed and agreed upon by both chambers. Congress will likely need to negotiate on all remaining FY14 funding decisions as a bundle, and the timing of that action is unpredictable.
Your advocacy on this issue is greatly appreciated! Thanks to the many orchestra advocates who have written to their elected officials in support of protecting the NEA. If you have not yet spoken up, now is the time to reach out and tell Congress about the public value of the arts. With Members at home for the next five weeks, use this opportunity to reinforce your message by inviting them to witness your orchestra at work in your local community!