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US House Approves Funding Increases for NEA, NEH

(June 26, 2009) -- Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $15 million increase for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for FY 2010. Currently funded at $155 million, this increase would bring both agencies' budgets to $170 million.

Thanks to the arts leadership of House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) and Congressional Arts Caucus co-chair Louise Slaughter (D-NY), this House-approved funding increase for the NEA exceeds President Obama's budget request by $8.7 million and is the highest proposed appropriation for the NEA since its $176 million peak in FY 1992. On June 25, corresponding legislation in the Senate Appropriations Committee set NEA and NEH funding at only $161.3 million each.

Next, the Senate and House will debate the differences in their budget bills. Take action and urge your federal legislators to support a $170 million appropriation for our nation's cultural agencies.

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(June 10, 2009) -- This morning, the US House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved an FY2010 spending bill that funds the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at $170 million.  This is a $15 million increase over the current year but remains below the agency's previous 1992 funding high of $176 million.

Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) has once again championed the arts and culture and proposed an increase in funding. In his statement, Chairman Dicks referenced the Arts Advocacy Day hearings the subcommittee held as demonstrating that "the endowments are vital for preserving and encouraging America's arts and cultural heritage."  On Arts Advocacy Day, Americans for the Arts presented a panel of witnesses before Chairman Dicks' Appropriations Subcommittee calling for a significant increase in funding for the NEA.  Witnesses included Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center Wynton Marsalis, renown singer-songwriter Josh Groban, legendary singer Linda Ronstadt, Reinvestment Fund CEO Jeremy Nowak and Americans for the Arts President & CEO Robert Lynch. Pictures from the hearing and further details including the witnesses' testimony are available online.

An increase in appropriations for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to $170 million was also approved by the committee.  The additional funding for both agencies is $9 million more than President Obama's original budget request.
 
The FY 2010 Interior Appropriations bill will next go to full committee and then to the House floor for final consideration where help may be needed to defend against floor amendments attempting to cut this increase. Arts advocates must now 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 why the arts are important to you.