Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved legislation on a voice-vote to fund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and other cultural institutions like the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution. Although the budget situation has improved from last year, the subcommittee has proposed another direct funding cut to the NEA—a decrease of $8 million from the current funding level, to $138 million.
At today's hearing, Congressional Arts Caucus members Reps. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) expressed their disappointment about the funding cuts. Rep. McCollum noted the NEA’s work in revitalizing communities and that cutting funding “means cutting jobs in my district and around the country.” Rep. Pingree cited the positive impact that the creative economy has had on her state, including the life-changing “NEA art therapy work that gets done with our returning veterans at Walter Reed.”
With the subcommittee’s approval, the bill may now head to full committee consideration with amendment opportunities.