Thursday, January 5, 2023

The U.S. Capitol building, which is a white marble dome with colonnades, against a bright blue sky.

On December 23, 2022, the United States Congress passed, and President Biden enacted, an end-of-year omnibus package that funds the government for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) and has provisions that support the arts.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will be funded each at $207 million, a $27 million increase from last year. This moves both agencies closer to indexing their funding to $1 per person, a policy proposal arts advocates strongly support. Additionally, equity and diversity grant-making recommendations were included in the report language that accompanies this funding.

The funding increase and equity language are a testament to the strong and persistent advocacy of the arts community. In particular, the Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition submitted a letter on behalf of nearly 100 arts organizations to Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chair of the Interior Subcommittee, requesting $207 million for FY23.

Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund released a joint press release with highlights of arts and cultural programs in this package. 

Other arts-related measures included in the omnibus package:

  • The Legacy IRA Act is part of bipartisan retirement legislation that is included in the omnibus spending bill. The provision would encourage charitable giving by expanding charitable rollover rules to enable seniors to make tax-free contributions from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to charities, including those specific to the arts, through life-income plans such as charitable annuities. The bill also indexes the IRA charitable rollover for inflation.
  • Congress directed first-time funding of $10 million to the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Intrepid Center of Excellence for clinical creative arts therapies for those serving in the military. An additional $5 million will go to the Department of Veterans Affairs for its Whole Health Initiative.
  • Arts in Education funding remained level at $36.5 million.
  • There were increases in K-12 well-rounded funding. The Every Student Succeeds Act lists arts education as a well-rounded subject that should be taught to all K-12 students. Well-rounded funding can be found in various programs such as:
    • Title I-A: Financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families. The program received $18.387 billion for FY23, a 5 percent increase from last year.
    • Title II-A: Professional Development for Educators, including arts educators. This program received $2.19 billion, a 1 percent increase from last year.
    • Title IV-A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant. This program received $1.38 billion, a 1.5 percent increase from last year.

Arts advocacy work will begin in the new year with the swearing in of the 118th Congress.

Stay tuned for a legislative agenda and new bills to be introduced in 2023!

Photo by Elijah Mears on Unsplash.