November 3, 2023

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted against amendments to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) during consideration of the FY24 Interior appropriations bill. The amendment to defund the NEA failed by a vote of 292 to 129, demonstrating bipartisan support for direct federal funding for the arts and culture. Thank you to the many orchestras that have been weighing in with Congress over the past several weeks in anticipation of this important recorded vote — and a very special thanks to orchestras in specific Congressional districts that partnered with the League to give an extra push for support yesterday. Your advocacy, in partnership with action across the entire arts sector, is essential in reminding Congress how important federal support for the arts is in every single Congressional district, whether through direct grants to orchestras, partnerships with state arts agencies, or federal research and programmatic initiatives.

What happens now? The House ultimately passed an Interior budget with significant spending cuts, including a $20.7 million reduction in NEA funding to total $186.3 million for FY24. The Senate still needs to vote on its own Interior appropriations bill and ultimately the two chambers will need to reach a compromise in a dedicated Interior bill or an omnibus that will combine several outstanding bills together. Even though this House vote is over, follow up is so important! See how your member of Congress voted (PDF), then take a moment to thank your Representative for voting No to the harmful Perry amendment. If your member voted Yes to eliminate the agency’s funding, this is when you need to tell the story of what the arts are doing right at home in your district, the work your orchestra is doing in partnership with its community, and how federal support uniquely combines with charitable giving and earned revenue to support the artists and art-making in your community. Each arts-specific vote that Congress takes is critical and provides an opportunity to educate elected officials about the intricate funding landscape that supports our sector. Thank you!


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