On June 10, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which sets the initial funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), approved a $15 million increase for the NEA in its FY 2010 spending bill, setting it on a path towards final House consideration. Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) has once again championed the arts and culture and proposed an increase in funding.
Currently funded at $155 million, this increase would bring the agency’s budget to $170 million. In his statement, Chairman Dicks referenced the Arts Advocacy Day hearings the subcommittee held as demonstrating that “the endowments are vital for preserving and encouraging America’s arts and cultural heritage.” On Arts Advocacy Day, Americans for the Arts presented a panel of witnesses before Chairman Dicks’ Appropriations Subcommittee calling for a significant increase in funding for the NEA. Witnesses included Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center Wynton Marsalis, singer-songwriter Josh Groban, legendary singer Linda Ronstadt, Reinvestment Fund CEO Jeremy Nowak, and Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch. Watch video from that panel here.
The FY 2010 Interior Appropriations bill will next go to full committee and then to the House floor for final consideration where your help may be needed to defend against floor amendments attempting to cut this increase. We must now put pressure on the Senate to match this funding level. Please take two minutes to visit the Americans for the Arts E-Advocacy Center to send a letter to your Members of Congress letting them know that the arts are important to you!