National Endowment for the Arts Update: Trump FY2018 Budget Proposal Calls for Elimination of NEA Funding
Today the Trump administration released the first official documents draft of their plan to fund the federal government for the coming fiscal year (FY2018). The Trump proposal includes massive budget cuts (more than $54 billion in cuts to domestic programs in one year alone). The Administration’s proposal calls for termination of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. This is the first American President in history to propose zeroing out all funding for the nation’s federal cultural agencies.
This proposal is a blueprint and will be considered by Congress, but like all proposals, Congress will be considering their own budget priorities—and likely without much regard to the administration’s request.
In fact, President Trump himself encouraged Congress to make some funding decisions independent of the executive branch—he stated as much last year in response to questions about arts funding. He said, “The Congress, as representatives of the people, make the determination as to what the spending priorities ought to be.”
With the will of an elected body, anything’s possible. However, we know that legislative work on the FY2018 budget will continue until at least October 2017. Throughout this budgeting process, there are many points where Americans for the Arts, with arts advocates and partners from across the country, will be united in making sure Congress understands the impact of the arts in their states and districts.
A focal point of this advocacy includes record numbers of arts advocates coming to Washington, DC for Arts Advocacy Day, now in its 30th year. Over 650 constituents, representing 50 states are scheduled to meet with elected leaders and congressional staff as part of Arts Advocacy Day on March 20-21.
Today Americans for the Arts released a statement on Trump’s proposed budget and its implication for the NEA:
Americans for the Arts Statement on Proposed Elimination of Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts
President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, Robert L. Lynch said:
“I am deeply troubled by the Trump Administration’s proposed FY2018 budget calling for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. President Trump is the first American president who has made such a recommendation. Our nation’s parents, teachers, community leaders, arts advocates, government officials, and even economists will not accept this proposal.
For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans, awarding grants in every Congressional district throughout all 50 states and U.S. territories as well as placing arts therapists in 12 military hospitals to help returning soldiers heal from traumatic brain injuries.
In fact, even Rep. Mark Walker, chair of the Republican Study Group, stated that he is not inclined to support cutting funding for the arts, adding ‘I appreciate the education that is found in the arts, so at this point I have no path to making any kind of hard cuts right now.’
The Administration’s budget proposal stems from tired old ideas that show a lack of understanding of the important role the NEA plays in America today. It could not be more misguided. With only a $148 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.
President Trump does not yet realize the vast contribution the NEA makes to our nation’s economy and communities, as well as his own agenda to create jobs ‘made and hired’ in America.”
The proposed, tired and old idea of eliminating the agency should be soundly rejected on a bipartisan basis. It could not be more misguided. We have the facts and data to prove it in every state, district, county, and city in the country.
With your help, we are committed to making the case that the NEA makes our nation’s economy and communities better. It transforms lives for the better, heals neighborhoods, improves education and learning, and is a tool for diplomacy, recovery, and discovery. Read more about how the arts strengthen the U.S. economy here.
Take two minutes to take action by contacting your members of Congress through our customizable E-Advocacy Alert!