Advocacy Alert: April 12, 2011

Congress Reaches Budget Deal—Funding for Museums to Be Cut

President Obama and Congress have reached a budget agreement to fund the government for the remaining six months of the current fiscal year. Unfortunately, the budget pain was spread broadly across nearly every federal agency, including the Office of Museum Services within the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

"I am extremely disappointed to see that this vital agency will face a 10.7% cut in FY11," said AAM President Ford W. Bell. "This is a huge step in the wrong direction and is not going to somehow magically solve our nation's long term debt or deficit problems. Clearly we need to continue making our case that museums serve a vital role in our communities and schools."

The bill is expected to be voted on in Congress this week. Information about the specific allocation of funds within IMLS is not yet available, but agency funding would fall from $265,869,000 million in FY10 to just $237,393,262 in FY11. This represents a 10.7% reduction over current levels, and will have to be absorbed within the remaining six months of the current fiscal year (FY11) that ends September 30, 2011.

As previously reported by AAM, President Obama had proposed an 8.75% cut for the agency for fiscal year 2012. Congress is expected to consider funding for fiscal year 2012 in the coming months. AAM has worked with Representatives Paul Tonko, Louise Slaughter and Leonard Lance and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to oppose these cuts. Museum advocates have made a strong case opposing these cuts, both during Museums Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, and around the country.

"I hope this news will serve to affirm our commitment to making the strongest case possible about the public value of museums—as partners in education, as economic engines and as stewards of our nation's important collections," added Bell .

Let your members of Congress know how important funding for the Office of Museum Services is to you!