Same Proposal, Different Fiscal Year. Continued Advocacy Needed!

March 19, 2019

The Trump Administration's budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, 2020, mirrors that of the previous two years. Once again, the Administration's proposal calls for eliminating several agencies and programs important to the arts community, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and several programs at the U.S. Department of Education such as the Arts in Education program, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Bipartisan support for these programs in Congress has ensured that they have continued and - in fact - grown, despite the President's repeated requests to eliminate them. Continued advocacy in the coming months is essential!

What is the League doing?
The League has just submitted written testimony on behalf of FY2020 NEA funding to the House Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over funding the cultural agencies, drawing attention to the inspiring, community-building, and uplifting work taking place by a sampling of orchestras with budgets ranging from small to large and located throughout the country. Also, the League's D.C. team visits with key Congressional offices on both sides of the aisle as well as government agencies throughout the year. Whether the issues at hand are NEA funding (currently funded at $155 million), the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education (currently funded at $29 million), Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (currently funded at $1.17 billion), tax policy improvements, or securing a better process for musicians to travel internationally with their instruments, we are representing you with the offices and agencies that are positioned to make the decisions.

What can you do? Play your part and advocate!

  1. Continue to share your stories with members of Congress about the vital nature of federal support for the arts, reminding them that the arts funding ecosystem is complex and cannot rely on private support alone, as the Administration's budget suggests. Remember that the President's budget is a proposal, and just the first of several steps in the annual funding process. Pick one or more policies that interest or concern you, and use the League's easy online platform to send emails to Congress — just remember to personalize your message with a detail or two so your message will stand out from the crowd.
  2. Show off your best assets — your orchestra, at work in the community. Take note of when elected officials are going to be home and invite them or their staff to meet with you, visit a program behind the scenes, speak at a widely-attended event, or maybe even perform with you if they're able. The best story is the one that speaks for itself -- get your elected officials to see what you do! 

Between the League's policy team in D.C. and the hundreds of orchestras embedded in every state and the majority of the Congressional districts in the country, we can amplify the message that the arts are essential to healthy, thriving communities and we can maintain the bipartisan support for the arts that has not only kept these programs in place, but even secured increases in some cases. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  so we can better support you, and we'll keep you informed as the funding process moves forward. Thank you all for being part of #TeamOrchestra!