Action: US House Appropriations Committee Recommends Disproportionate Cuts to NEA

Wed, 07/24/2013 - 8:11am

Photo: Action Fund logo

The United States House of Representatives Appropriations Committee recently released the 2014 Interior Appropriations bill, which proposes deep cuts to both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The bill allocates only $75 million to each entity, representing a 49% budget cut from the previous fiscal year.  Other art-related agencies, including the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art, would sustain only 19% cuts in their funding.  The proposed funding level for the NEA is $79 million below the President's request for the agency.

The press release summarizing the bill's appropriations seeks to differentiate between "must-do" priorities for government and "nice-to-have" programs.  “This is a difficult budget year, and this bill reflects the extraordinarily hard choices needed to maintain critical investments and services for local communities. In order to do more with less, the legislation seeks to protect vital programs that directly affect the safety and well-being of Americans, while dramatically scaling back lower-priority, or ‘nice-to-have’ programs,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “In addition, by holding back overly zealous and unnecessary environmental regulations, this bill can have a positive effect on our economy and will help encourage job growth.”

A majority of NEA funding is reserved for distribution to state arts agencies and local arts agencies, and much of that funding is earmarked for distribution within local communities, funding arts participation and engagement opportunities for audiences, families, and neighborhoods.  How these proposed cuts would affect these local communities is not immediately known.  The Interior Appropriations bill will now move into subcommittees for discussion and revision.

Americans for the Arts Action Fund encourages you to take two minutes to send a customizable message to your members of Congress rejecting these dramatic cuts to NEA funding.