League Asks Congress to Protect Military Music-Making

September 7, 2016 (This is an update to our originally posted item from September 6, 2016)

The League and seventeen other national organizations endorsed a letter by Congressmen Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Walter B. Jones (D-NC) in opposition to proposed language in the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill that would limit military music ensembles. Joining in signing the letter were: Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

Earlier this summer, the House passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) that would limit the Defense Department from having military bands perform in an official capacity for certain entertainment purposes, such as dinners, dances, and social events. The Senate Appropriations bill does not contain a similar provision, and a final compromise bill has not yet been signed.

Although direct action on separate funding bills appears unlikely given timing constraints in an election year, the League wished to go on record in support of music in the military. The mission statement of the U.S. Army Band affirms the important role of military musicians to “instill in our soldiers the will to fight and win, foster the support of our citizens, and promote our national interests at home and abroad."