July 20, 2018

House of Representatives Rejects Proposal to Cut NEA and NEH Funding by 15 Percent

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a 297–114 vote in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, the House of Representatives shot down a proposal to slash funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities by 15 percent, or about $23 million, in 2019. The rejection of the budget cuts was a victory for arts advocates across the United States.

First proposed by Republican Glenn Grothman, a representative from Wisconsin’s sixth congressional district, the amendment to the federal government spending bill was meant to make a “small dent” in the United States’ spending. During a House Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday, Grothman made it clear that he was a fan of Donald Trump’s plan to eliminate both agencies and that reducing their budgets, which congress increased to $153 million each in March, “is the least we can do.”

Voicing his support for the NEA and NEH Paul E. Almeida, president of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, told Variety that they “are vital to our economy.” He added, “As we have repeatedly told members of Congress, the economic pain of reduced federal arts funding will be felt most acutely in small towns and rural communities, far from the soundstages of Hollywood and bright lights of Broadway.”

Robert Lynch, the president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said that the final tally was “one of the largest vote margins in support of the NEA and NEH ever.” The budgets for both agencies make up only 0.0004 percent of federal spending.

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