Advocacy Alert: August 1

House Committee Considers Cutting Funding in Half for NEA and NEH; Help Stop These Attacks 

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee began considering legislation that would dramatically slash funding for the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) and Humanities (NEH) in next year’s federal budget. The fiscal year 2014 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill would cut NEA and NEH funding to $75 million each, 49 percent below their enacted amounts in 2013 and the lowest level since 1974. It would also cut the Smithsonian Institution and the Historic Preservation Fund by 19 percent. 

“The legislation before the House Appropriations Committee would decimate funding for the NEA, NEH, Smithsonian, and Historic Preservation Fund, while turning its back on many other important federal priorities such as environmental conservation and the National Park Service,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell. “It demonstrates once again that many in Congress simply don’t understand how museums serve their communities and bolster the economy. Our field can only succeed in changing these misperceptions if we speak with one unified voice, so I hope everyone will contact their legislators today.”

These funding cuts are no accident; an amendment to restore funding to the NEA and NEH, offered by Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and David Price (D-NC), was defeated on a 19-27 vote along party lines. While debating the amendment, the bill’s chief author even indicated that consideration was given to eliminating this funding entirely. Please take one minute to tell Congress to support the NEA and NEH

The Committee is not scheduled to finish considering this legislation until at least September, and its outlook is unclear as disagreements over federal spending levels will continue in the coming months. Yet despite this uncertainty, one thing is certain: if cultural agencies are going to be saved from these debilitating cuts, legislators need to hear directly from constituents like you. 

P.S. The best way to demonstrate your museum’s value to your legislators is to show them first hand!  Participate in “Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum” Week, August 10-17 by following the Alliance’s easy “How To” guide.