By Dawoud Kringle
On Tuesday, June 24th, the U.S. House rejected Trump’s budget request to eliminate both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by approving $167.5 million in funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020. This is an increase for both agencies 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 version of this appropriations bill.
This year, the House is acknowledging the importance of arts funding by increasing the appropriation by $12.5 million.
The funding increase matches the2019 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.
Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch gave public witness testimony before the Interior Subcommittee in February. Lynch asked for the cultural agencies to be funded at $167.5 million. A ‘Dear Colleague” letter circulated by Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)and Elise Stefanik (R-NY)asked for an identical amount of funding for the NEA and NEH. A record setting 184 members of Congress signed it.
This is the third year in a row that the Trump administration has proposed a terminationof both the NEA and the NEH in his budget proposal to the U.S. Congress. Congress has consistently – and wisely – rejected this request and increased funding for the cultural agencies. Once again, the Trump administration’s efforts to destroy the arts in the US was handed a humiliating defeat.