At 7am on March 16th, the new Trump Administration released their budget proposal to fund the federal government for the coming fiscal year (FY2018). The Trump proposal includes massive budget cuts (more than $54 billion in cuts to domestic programs in one year alone). The proposal includes the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institue of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for National and Community Services (Americorps), among other federal agencies.
What Does This Mean?
As previous reported, advisors to the President were recommending this elimination, and conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation have been attempting to end the NEA for decades, not to mention calls for its termination in budget resolutions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in years’ prior.
Is There Any Good News?
This proposal is a blueprint and will be considered by Congress, but like all proposals, Congress will be considering their own budget priorities-and likely without much regard to the administration’s request.
In fact, President Trump himself encouraged Congress to make some funding decisions independent of the executive branch. He stated as much last year in response to questions about arts funding. He said, “The Congress, as representatives of the people, make the determination as to what the spending priorities ought to be.” And, members of Congress are already speaking out against the Trump budget, including some Republicans, who are calling the proposal “dead on arrival.”
But make no mistake, we are taking the Trump proposal seriously and are calling on you now to contact your representatives in Congress. Let them know that eliminating the NEA would be a devastating blow to the arts in America. For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans, awarding grants in every Congressional district throughout all 50 states and U.S. Territories as well as placing arts therapists in 12 military hospitals to help returning soldiers heal from traumatic brain injuries. The NEA is also an economic powerhouse, generating more than $600 million annually in additional matching funds and helping to shape a $730 billion arts and culture industry that represents 4.2% of the nation’s GDP and supports 4.8 million jobs.
Thank you for your support of the arts and for being an arts advocate. Now more than ever is the time to tell our story and make our case again and again at the federal, state and local level that the arts matter! Again, this is just the first step. There will be many more points along the way as the proposal moves through Congress-likely all the way until the Fall of 2017 before anything is finalized.
We will be calling on you at key moments to keep weighing in and making your voice heard. In fact, in a few days, record numbers of arts advocates from nearly every state will be coming to Washington, DC for the 30th annual Arts Advocacy Day to make the case. Not traveling? No worries – take part in our social media campaign, #ArtsAdvocacy and join the Facebook event to stay updated!