Advocacy Alert: Dec. 17

Key Victories for Museums in Tax and Budget Deal; IRA Rollover Permanently Restored

Congressional negotiators have released the details of a massive, end-of-year deal on spending and taxes, and there are a lot of victories for museums buried in the 2,000-plus page legislation! Though the schedule for consideration is still being determined, passage is expected as soon as the end of this week.

IRA Charitable Rollover Permanently Restored

While the spending provisions might get more attention, it should be noted first and foremost that the package would permanently reinstate the expired IRA charitable rollover provision. In the first two years of its existence, this provision helped Americans donate over $140 million from their retirement accounts to causes they believed in, including many museums. Its effectiveness has been limited by frequent short-term lapses caused by congressional inaction, but permanent restoration will provide critical certainty to both museums and to prospective donors.

Museums’ Federal Spending Priorities Receive Increases

The legislation would also increase federal spending for many programs that are important to museums, by providing:
  • $31.3 million for the Office of Museum Services at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a $1.2 million increase
  • $147.9 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, a $1.9 million increase
  • $147.9 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, a $1.9 million increase
  • $62.5 million for the  Advancing Informal STEM Learning program at the National Science Foundation, a $7.5 million increase
  • $65.4 million for the Historic Preservation Fund, including $8 million for a new competitive grant program to preserve and interpret the sites and stories of the Civil Rights Movement
  • $2.37 billion for National Park Service Operations, a $94 million increase
  • $840 million for the Smithsonian Institution, a $21 million increase
  • $102 million for the Office of Citizen Exchanges at the Department of State, a $2 million increase
“While these victories may have appeared publicly overnight, they are the result of your hard work all year long,” said Alliance President Laura L. Lott. “Between securing record support in Congress for museum funding, deepening relationships with legislators and standing with the nonprofit field on behalf of the IRA Charitable Rollover, museum advocates have a lot to be proud of today. Let’s keep up this momentum with a strong showing at Museums Advocacy Day 2016.”

Will Museums Be at the Table in 2016?

Museums Advocacy Day is a critical and unique opportunity to make a unified case to Congress about the value of museums. We provide policy briefings and schedule your meetings on Capitol Hill. Alliance members register for free, as do members of Co-Convenor, Leader, and Partner organizations.

Please visit www.aam-us.org/advocacy to learn more about advocacy for museums.