On July 24, 2020 the full U.S. House strongly rejected President Trump's budget request to eliminate both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by voting to appropriate $170 million in funding for fiscal year (FY) 2021! This is an increase for both agencies of $7.75 million over the FY 2020 funding level of $162.25 million. This is the exact ask arts advocates have been making all year.
Additionally, we are very pleased the bill included important language requested by Americans for the Arts and grassroots advocates to enable current NEA grantees flexibility with their federal awards (including FY19, FY20, and FY21) allowing the grants for general operating support and waiving the financial matching requirements to make available added relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Next, this the U.S. Senate will begin its appropriations process later this fall.
Request your U.S. Senators vote in favor of the already House-approved Interior Appropriations Bill which includes funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities at a level of $170 million for fiscal year (FY) 2021.
In January 2020, the second session of the 116th Congress began and congressional appropriators have started the cycle for the fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations process. In each of the FY 2018, FY 2019, and FY 2020 cycles, the Trump administration sought to eliminate the NEA; however, Congress strongly rejected that proposal on a bipartisan basis each year, and actually increased NEA funding every year. In fact, FY 2020 saw the largest increase in funding for the NEA in six years and the highest level of funding for the Endowment in a decade! This increase can partially be attributed to the tremendous grassroots advocacy of arts advocates last year.
On February 6th, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the funding for the NEA and many other federal cultural agencies, held a public witness hearing where Americans for the Arts Artists Committee Member and singer-songwriter Ben Folds and Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch submitted testimony asking the Subcommittee to increase funding for the NEA in FY 2021 to a level of $170 million.
The House Subcommittee is led by Representatives Betty McCollum (D-MN) and David Joyce (R-OH) and the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee is led by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tom Udall (D-NM).