Congress Increases FY18 Arts Funding!


Cultural Agencies Still Threatened with Elimination for FY19

A bipartisan federal spending deal includes a $3 million increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)! Congress has finally agreed on and passed a spending bill for FY18, the current fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2017, and the President has just signed the bill. Despite proposals from the Trump Administration to eliminate the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), each of these agencies and other arts-related initiatives are receiving either level funding or increases.

FY18 outcomes:

  • National Endowment for the Arts: $152.8 million ($3M increase)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities: $152.8 million ($3M increase)
  • Assistance for Arts Education: $29 million ($2M increase)
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (supporting a “well-rounded education” in Title IV-A in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act): $1.1 billion ($700M increase)
  • Office of Citizen Exchange within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State: $111.4 million (same as FY17)
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting: $445 million for FY20 (CPB is forward-funded)
  • The Johnson Amendment, the 1954 tax law protecting charitable, religious, and philanthropic organizations from partisan politicking, remains intact in the Omnibus spending bill. Several attempts have been made to remove the Johnson Amendment, so it is likely that the fight will continue. More than 60 theatres and TCG have signed onto a Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship. Any 501(c)(3) organization is welcome to join the nearly 5,800 organizations expressing strong support for maintaining the Johnson Amendment.

Your advocacy has made a difference! Your responses to TCG Action Alerts specifically in support of NEA funding over the past year generated 5,035 messages to Capitol Hill. Thank you for all you have done to engage with your elected officials and for sharing your advocacy stories!

FY19 concerns:

However, the fight to protect funding for the arts does not end with the happy resolution of FY18’s budget process. Already, the Trump Administration renewed its proposals to eliminate the NEA, NEH, and CPB in FY19. The co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus, Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ), sent a letter to Appropriators signed by a record 166 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, urging at least $155 million for the NEA in FY19. Your continued advocacy is vital!

Click “Take Action Now!” to contact your elected officials to preserve NEA funding for FY19!

Take Action Now!

On a sadder note, Theatre Communications Group mourns the loss of Representative Louise Slaughter, who died on March 16, 2018. She was a champion of the arts in Congress for decades, and we are saddened by her passing. She was passionate about the arts and often championed the cultural agencies in Floor speeches and at Arts Advocacy Day, including in 2010, when she met with the TCG delegation.

Questions: Please contact Laurie Baskin, Director of Research, Policy & Collective Action, at lbaskin@tcg.org or Greg Cooper, Education & Collective Action Associate, at gcooper@tcg.org.

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