May 23, 2017

Today’s FY2018 Detailed Budget Release Continues Trump’s Call to Eliminate the NEA

Today, the Trump administration released the full details of their budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018, beginning on October 1, 2017.

The initial outlining documents were first released back in March. Today’s detailed reports continue the same misguided termination ideas.

All together, the Trump proposal would cut nondefense discretionary spending every year for 10 years. It also proposes to reduce the size of the federal workforce and reorganize agencies. The proposal calls for close out of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in FY 2018. This is the first American President in history to propose eliminating the nation’s federal cultural agencies.

This proposal is a blueprint. It will be considered by Congress and it will jumpstart budget hearings, but already, it is not receiving much support. Like all proposals, Congress will be considering their own budget priorities—and likely without much regard to the Administration’s request. See below for President and CEO of Americans for the Arts Robert L. Lynch’s full statement.

Americans for the Arts Statement on the President’s Detailed FY2018 Budget Proposal

President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, Robert L. Lynch said:

In March, we learned that the Trump Administration would be calling for full termination of our nation’s cultural agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Today, the President doubled down on his request to terminate these agencies in FY 2018. In this detailed budget request, the President allocates minimal funds “for expenses necessary to carry out the closure” of these cultural agencies. He further explains that these eliminations are “part of the Administration's plan to move the Nation toward fiscal responsibility and to redefine the proper role of the Federal Government.”

We disagree. The NEA’s budget is just 0.004 percent of the federal budget. That amounts to 47 cents per capita. In fact, the NEA budget has been losing its share of federal discretionary spending and failing to keep pace with inflation. When adjusted for inflation, the NEA’s 1992 budget would be more than twice the current budget. 

In addition, the official budget request released today goes into further detail about his plans affecting education, including his ideas to terminate funding for:

  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which support afterschool programs that can include the arts;

  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, the newly authorized program in the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which supports well-rounded education that can include the arts in K-12 education; and

  • Assistance for Arts Education, which supports multi-year grants that strengthen the arts to be part of a well-rounded education.

This is a tough reminder that federal support for the arts faces major challenges this year, despite the overwhelmingly positive action from Congress last month in firmly rejecting President Trump’s ideas to retroactively trim the NEA and NEH by $15 million each in the FY2017 budget. Instead, the Republican-controlled House and Senate approved a $2 million increase for the two sister agencies for FY 2017. The Subcommittees on Interior Appropriations in charge of arts and culture funding are led by Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Ranking Member Betty McCollum (D-MN) in the House and Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) in the Senate.

The arts community will continue to work with our bipartisan leaders in Congress and in partnership with the 95,000 nonprofit arts organizations across the United States, the record number of arts advocates who came to Washington, D.C., for the 30th annual Arts Advocacy Day, the business community and the pARTnership Movement, the Arts Action Fund, and countless partners from across the spectrum to make the case for federal funding and the federal role of the agencies in fostering investment, spurring job-related growth, expanding educational opportunities, and providing for the preservation of our heritage. Learn more on our Mobilization Center and our ongoing visibility campaign.

With only a $150 million annual appropriation, the NEA’s investment in every Congressional District in the country contributes to a $730 billion arts and culture industry in America, representing 4.2 percent of the annual GDP. This arts and culture industry supports 4.8 million jobs and yields a $26 billion trade surplus for our country.

Americans for the Arts’ earlier statement on the budget proposal is here. Take two minutes to take action now by contacting your members of Congress through our customizable E-Advocacy Alert!

The following is a 3-year comparative snapshot of the President Trump’s FY 2018 budget to Congress of proposed funding levels for the various federal cultural agencies and programs.

Source:  Americans for the Arts, 2017