Yesterday evening, the U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which sets the initial funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), approved a $2.5 million increase for the NEA in its FY 2011 spending bill. Chairman Jim Moran (D-VA), a longtime champion of arts and culture, presided over his first Interior spending bill as chairman of the subcommittee. It is significant that Chairman Moran has proposed an increase for the agency in light of a spending freeze on federal discretionary funds and a lower budget request by the administration. Please send a message to your members of Congress telling them to support this funding increase that Chairman Moran made in subcommittee!
Currently funded at $167.5 million, this increase would bring the NEA's budget to $170 million. In his statement, Chairman Moran acknowledged that, "the increase recognizes the value we place, as a nation, on our artistic and cultural heritage."
On Arts Advocacy Day 2010, Americans for the Arts presented a panel of witnesses before Chairman Moran's Appropriations Subcommittee calling for a significant increase in funding for the NEA. This diverse group of witnesses included Terri Aldrich, Executive Director, Minot Area Council of the Arts; Brig. Gen. Nolen V. Bivens, U.S. Army (ret.); Jeff Daniels, Golden Globe-nominated film and stage actor; Kyle MacLachlan, Emmy-nominated TV, film, and stage actor; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Charles Segars, CEO, Ovation; and Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts. Video from the hearing and further details, including the witnesses' testimony, are available
The FY 2011 Interior Appropriations bill will next go to full committee and then to the full House of Representatives for consideration. Both the House and Senate have been slow to proceed on funding measures this year, and it's possible that many of the final appropriations decisions will take place after the elections and conducted in a "lame duck" session in November and December. Nonetheless, we must continue to put pressure on the Senate to match this funding level. Please take two minutes to visit the Americans for the Arts E-Advocacy Center to send a letter to your members of Congress letting them know that the arts are important to you!