6/1/05 Urge Your Senator to Support an Increase for the NEA! Urge Your Senator to Join the New Senate Cultural Caucus!

This Action Alert is a member service of Theatre Communications Group, a coalition partner of the American Arts Alliance (AAA), a national network of over 3,000 professional, nonprofit performing arts and presenting organizations.

ISSUE – There are 2 Issues for Senate Action:

1. During the week of June 6th, the Senate Appropriations Sub-committee will begin its deliberations on the FY 2006 Interior Appropriations bill, which contains funding for the NEA. The House has already passed an Amendment to increase the NEA by $10 million. This year, we need the Senate to match the House funding level. We do not want to lose the House increase on the Senate side.

2. We are pleased to announce that the United States Senate is establishing a new bipartisan caucus dedicated to promoting the arts and humanities within the Senate. Please urge your Senator to join the new Senate Cultural Caucus. The Senate Cultural Caucus thus becomes a focal point for arts supporters in the Senate, as the Congressional Arts Caucus is a focal point in the House. The Congressional Arts Caucus, which is the House’s second-largest caucus with a membership of 182 Members, has been instrumental in the passage of yearly amendments to increase NEA and NEH funding. Both caucuses are committed to highlighting the positive impact of the arts in America.

The four Senators spearheading the new Senate Cultural Caucus are Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jim Jeffords (I-VT) and Norm Coleman (R-MN). They will also serve as co-chairs of the Caucus, which will work to highlight the programs and impact of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Museum and Library Services. These four Senators have sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to fellow Senators, asking them to join the newly formed Senate Cultural Caucus. The letter notes that, "Future generations will learn about our history and ideals through our literature, paintings, dance and drama. Yet, we often overlook the important role of the arts in our daily lives…we can do much more to emphasize the broad array of activities that contribute in such a significant way to the cultural identity of our country. The Senate Cultural Caucus will provide opportunities to accomplish this goal."

ACTION IS NEEDED:

1. Please write, fax, email or call your U.S. Senators and ask them to support any effort to increase NEA funding to $131.3 to match the House funding level, as they deliberate the FY 2006 Interior Appropriations bill! Here is the list of Senators on the Appropriations Committee. The Senators with an asterisk (*) also serve on the Interior Appropriations Sub-committee, which has initial and important jurisdiction over NEA funding! If your theatre is located in one of these states, it is even more important for you to contact your Senators now!

Majority Members: Thad Cochran, MS (Chair)* Ted Stevens, AK* Arlen Specter, PA Pete V. Domenici, NM* Christopher S. Bond, MO Mitch McConnell, KY Conrad Burns, MT* Richard C. Shelby, AL Judd Gregg, NH* Robert Bennett, UT* Larry E. Craig , ID* Kay Bailey Hutchison, TX Mike DeWine, OH Sam Brownback, KS Wayne Allard, CO* Minority Members: Robert C. Byrd, WV (Ranking Member)* Daniel K. Inouye, HI Patrick J. Leahy, VT* Tom Harkin, IA Barbara A. Mikulski, MD* Harry Reid , NV* Herbert H. Kohl, WI* Patty Murray, WA Byron L. Dorgan, ND* Dianne Feinstein, CA* Richard J. Durbin, IL Tim Johnson, SD Mary Landrieu, LA

2. We urge you to write your Senators and urge them to join the Senate Cultural Caucus.

HOW TO CONTACT YOUR U.S. SENATOR: Identify your U.S Senator and their contact information by accessing www.senate.gov then click on your state to get their telephone or fax information. Each Senator’s web page includes a web form to send a letter by e-mail. You may also call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your member's office.

Also, please remember to mail, email or fax copies of any correspondence you have with your Members of Congress to Laurie Baskin at TCG at (212) 609-5901 (fax) or via email at lbaskin@tcg.org. Your letters and the responses you receive from your Members of Congress are very helpful when developing our legislative strategies. Thank you!

This Action Alert is provided by TCG. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Laurie Baskin, Director of Government & Education Programs, at (212) 609-5900 or email lbaskin@tcg.org.

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