Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Thanks to record-levels of calls, emails, and tweets from arts advocates to Members of Congress in the past few days, we have good news!

On July 18, the U.S. House of Representatives soundly defeated an amendment that would have cut funding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).  The House voted down the Grothman amendment by a vote of 114 – 297!  This is one of the largest vote margins in support of the Endowments in the U.S. House!  Read Americans for the Arts President & CEO Robert L. Lynch’s statement here.

This bipartisan showing and resounding vote is a testament to the power of the arts in our communities, schools, lives, and careers. There hasn’t been a floor vote like this since 2011. We are proud and excited to know publicly, and on the record, just how strongly supported the National Endowments are by our elected officials in Congress on both sides of the aisle.

During last night's floor debate on the amendment, Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Congressional Arts Caucus co-Chairs Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) all spoke out in support for the arts and the Endowments.

"This amendment would have devastating consequence on critical work for the National Endowment for the Arts at Walter Reed Medical Center, 11 other clinical sites across the country that are supporting therapy service." 
--Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA)
"I am the Republican chair of both the Arts Caucus and the Humanities Caucus in this House, and these programs do wonderful work throughout the entire Nation, in every hamlet in America and, of course, supporting our veterans."
--Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
"The NEA and the NEH have strong, bipartisan support on this committee, and I had really hoped the days of attacking these agencies were behind us.  Maybe they seem like a good political target for those who don't understand the ways the arts and humanities affect our daily lives, but the economic benefits are undeniable for big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between." 
--Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)

What Happens Next

Now that this amendment to cut the funding for the Endowments has been defeated, the U.S. House is expected to pass the Interior funding bill in its entirety later today.  Both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are proposing $2 million increases to the agencies, bringing both of their budgets up to $155 million for FY 2019.  Next week, the U.S. Senate is expected to take up the Interior funding bill for consideration. A conference committee would then iron-out differences between the U.S. House and U.S. Senate bills to present a final version for the President’s signature.

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