On June 25, the U.S. House strongly rejected President Trump's budget request to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) by approving $167.5 million in funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020! This is an increase of $12.5 million over the FY 2019 funding level of $155 million.
The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for possible consideration (the Senate may also take up their own version of this appropriations bill).
This is the third year in a row that the Trump administration has proposed a termination of the NEA in his budget proposal to the U.S. Congress. The past two years, Congress has rejected this request and moderately increased funding for the cultural agencies. This year, the House is sending an even stronger message of the importance of arts funding by increasing the appropriation by $12.5 million.
The funding increase matches the 2019 Arts Advocacy Day ask which would help broaden access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and to advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States. This also follows public witness testimony presented by Flordelino Lagundino, Artistic Director of Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, MN at the invitation of TCG, before the Interior Subcommittee in February, asking for the cultural agencies to be funded at $167.5 million. This is the same amount requested by the co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY)—in a letter signed by a record-number (184) of members of Congress.
We are hopeful that the Senate will follow the House's lead in expanding funding for the NEA and NEH. We'll be keeping close watch over every step of the appropriations process. Stay tuned for more updates after the July 4th recess! Please respond to TCG Action Alerts and weigh in with your Members of Congress!