7/13/05 Appropriations Conference Committee Expected Soon! Ask your Representative and your Senator to Support an Increase to the NEA's Budget by $10 million!

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: On May 19, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to increase the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) by $10 million. On Wednesday, June 29, the U.S. Senate approved a $5 million increase to the NEA included in the Senate Interior Appropriations bill. Soon selected representatives from the House and Senate will convene a conference committee as early as mid-July to craft a final Interior Appropriations bill. During the conference they will reconcile the differences between the House passed NEA budget of $131.3 million and the Senate passed budget of $127.3 million. If you are receiving this e-mail it is because you live in a district or a state that is represented by a possible House-Senate conferee listed below. It is imperative that your Representative and your Senator know how important it is to the arts in your state to support the $10 million House increase. Below is a sample letter template you can use as a guide to write your personalized letter to your Representative's or Senator's office in Washington, DC. You are encouraged to use your organization's letterhead and to call your congressional office in Washington, DC and deliver a verbal message.
ACTION NEEDED: Please write and FAX your U.S. Representative and/or your U.S. Senator listed below AS SOON AS POSSIBLE but no later than July 15, and ask him or her to support the $10 million increase to the NEA during the conference committee over the 2006 Interior Appropriations bill.
HOW TO CONTACT YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATOR: Identify your U.S Representative and their contact information by accessing www.house.gov; type in your zip code, then click on the Member of Congress to get their telephone or fax information. To send a letter by e-mail, go to www.house.gov/writerep/. Identify your Senator and their contact information by accessing www.senate.gov. Then click on your state to get his or her telephone or fax information. Each Senator's webpage also includes a web form to send a letter by email. You may also call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative's or Senator's office.
Below is the list of Senators who comprise the leadership from the full Appropriations Committee and the Appropriations Interior Subcommittee who would likely be named to the conference committee. If your theatre is located in one of these States, it is crucial for you to contact your Senator now!
  • Thad Cochran (R-MS), Chair of Appropriations Committee
  • Robert Byrd (D-WV), Ranking Member of full Appropriations Committee
  • Conrad Burns (R-MT), Chair of Appropriations Interior Subcommittee
  • Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Ranking Member of Appropriations Interior Subcommittee
  • Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Minority Leader
  • Wayne Allard (R-CO)
  • Robert Bennett (R-UT)
  • Larry Craig (R-ID)
  • Pete Domenici (R-NM)
  • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Judd Gregg (R-NH)
  • Herbert Kohl (D-WI)
  • Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
  • Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Below is the list of Representatives from the Appropriations Interior Subcommittee who would likely be named to the conference committee. If your theatre is located in one of these Congressional Districts, it is crucial for you to contact your Representative now!
  • Majority Members:
  • Charles H. Taylor, NC - 11 (R - Chairman)
  • Zach Wamp, TN - 3 (R)
  • John E. Peterson, PA - 5 (R)
  • Don Sherwood, PA - 10 (R)
  • Ernest J. Istook, Jr., OK - 5 (R)
  • Robert Aderholt, AL - 4 (R)
  • John Doolittle, CA - 4 (R)
  • Michael K. Simpson, ID - 2 (R - Vice Chair)
  • Minority Members:
  • Norman D. Dicks, WA - 6 (D - Ranking Member)
  • James P. Moran, VA - 8 (D)
  • Maurice D. Hinchey, NY - 22 (D)
  • John W. Olver, MA - 1 (D)
  • Alan B. Mollohan, WV - 1 (D)
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 **mailto: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 **mailto:lbaskin@tcg.org**.
SAMPLE LETTER TO FAX OR EMAIL TO YOUR SENATOR
(SEE SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE BELOW)
[Note: Please personalize your letter by sharing information about yourself and your organization. Let your elected official know how more funding for the NEA could help your theatre better serve their constituents and the public generally. Inform legislators about your company's unique and important role in your community and the specific ways the company can or has used NEA funding to serve citizens and visitors in the district.]
[Date]
The Honorable [Senator's Full Name]
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator [Senator's Last Name]:
As your constituent, I respectfully urge you to support the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and its federal role in bringing the arts to all communities as you deliberate the FY 2006 Interior Appropriations bill. In particular, I strongly encourage you to match the $10 million increase approved in the House bill during the 2006 Interior Appropriations conference committee.
I would also like to urge you to join the newly formed Senate Cultural Caucus. The Caucus will work to highlight the programs and impact of the NEA and the positive impact of the arts in America.
Any additional funding over the NEA's current budget of $121.3 million will support the nation's artistic infrastructure by providing cultural programs and services in the arts. As you may know:
  • In 2004, the NEA provided direct grants in 99% of all congressional districts. In addition, the NEA has helped spread the benefit of the arts across the nation through its funding partnership with state arts agencies, which receive 40% of its appropriated program funds.
  • The NEA is a great investment in the economic growth of every community. The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $134 billion annually in economic activity, supporting 4.85 million full-time equivalent jobs and returning $10.5 billion to the federal government in income taxes. That's an 8:1 return.
  • Federal funding for the arts is critical to leveraging private funding. Private support cannot replace the leadership role of government cultural funding, especially at a time when all forms of support for the arts are down while needs are greater than ever.
  • The NEA supports life-long learning in the arts. The NEA's education programs have helped to sustain support in local communities for arts education, which has been proven to help close the education achievement gap as well as to benefit children and adults in many important ways. During these critical times, Americans look to the arts for education, entertainment, and enlightenment.
  • An increase would ensure that the NEA can continue to support the creation, preservation and presentation of the arts in every corner of the country.
  • The NEA has never recovered from a 40% budget cut in FY 96 and all of its programs are seriously underfunded.
If additional funding is approved, the National Endowment for the Arts has the potential to become an even greater resource for arts organizations, artists, businesses, families, and communities throughout our state. Therefore, I urge you to support an additional $10 million for the NEA. The federal government must continue its tradition of fiscal support for the efforts of theatre companies in protecting and preserving our heritage, creating a nation of lifelong learners, and promoting democracy. I am hopeful that you will signal your support of the arts in our state by joining the Senate Cultural Caucus. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Sincerely, [Your Name]
SAMPLE LETTER TO FAX OR EMAIL TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE [Note: Please personalize your letter by sharing information about yourself and your organization. Let your elected official know how more funding for the NEA could help your theatre better serve their constituents and the public generally. Inform legislators about your company's unique and important role in your community and the specific ways the company can or has used NEA funding to serve citizens and visitors in the district.] [Date] The Honorable [Representative's Full Name] United States House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515 Dear Representative [Representative's Last Name]: As your constituent, I respectfully urge you to support the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and its federal role in bringing the arts to all communities as you deliberate the FY 2006 Interior Appropriations bill. In particular, I strongly encourage you to hold firm on the $10 million increase approved in the House bill during the 2006 Interior Appropriations conference committee. Any additional funding over the NEA's current budget of $121.3 million will support the nation's artistic infrastructure by providing cultural programs and services in the arts. As you may know:
  • In 2004, the NEA provided direct grants in 99% of all congressional districts. In addition, the NEA has helped spread the benefit of the arts across the nation through its funding partnership with state arts agencies, which receive 40% of its appropriated program funds.
  • The NEA is a great investment in the economic growth of every community. The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $134 billion annually in economic activity, supporting 4.85 million full-time equivalent jobs and returning $10.5 billion to the federal government in income taxes. That's an 8:1 return.
  • Federal funding for the arts is critical to leveraging private funding. Private support cannot replace the leadership role of government cultural funding, especially at a time when all forms of support for the arts are down while needs are greater than ever.
  • The NEA supports life-long learning in the arts. The NEA's education programs have helped to sustain support in local communities for arts education, which has been proven to help close the education achievement gap as well as to benefit children and adults in many important ways. During these critical times, Americans look to the arts for education, entertainment, and enlightenment.
  • An increase would ensure that the NEA can continue to support the creation, preservation and presentation of the arts in every corner of the country.
  • The NEA has never recovered from a 40% budget cut in FY 96 and all of its programs are seriously underfunded.
If additional funding is approved, the National Endowment for the Arts has the potential to become an even greater resource for arts organizations, artists, businesses, families, and communities throughout our state. Therefore, I urge you to support the House approved additional $10 million for the NEA. The federal government must continue its tradition of fiscal support for the efforts of theatre companies in protecting and preserving our heritage, creating a nation of lifelong learners, and promoting democracy. Sincerely, [Your Name]

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