This morning, President Trump released a budget blueprint that calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Institute for Museums and Library Services (IMLS). This is the first American President in history to propose zeroing out all funding for the nation’s federal cultural agencies.
- Use the National Humanities Alliance’s (NHA) online tool for crafting a message to your congressional representatives asking for their support to fund and save NEH and IMLS. The NHA template does not currently reference IMLS, please add IMLS in to your message. NHA is currently updating their advocacy tools located under the resource tab of their website. Here you will find fact sheets about NEH and can search for NEH grants in your state.
- Use the Americans for the Arts’ (AFTA) online tool for crafting a message to your congressional representatives asking for their support to fund and save NEA.
- AAM’s “State Snapshots” tool allows you to see how much funding museums receive on a state-by-state basis to improve your case with your representatives.
- If you can devote the time to send three emails, AAM has an email template to send your congressional representatives a message in support of IMLS. Please update the message to include the elimination threat.
- You can send one email for all three agencies. However, multiple emails are a stronger message.
Even if you sent messages in our last campaign, before the threat was real, please send another round of emails. You can reuse a lot of your text from last time. If you have never responded to one of our advocacy alerts – now is the time!
- This year’s appropriations process is likely to last for several months. You will receive additional advocacy alerts from AIC over the next days and weeks. Please respond to the emails as soon as possible, even if it sounds similar to a past alert.
- Reach out to your network of colleagues, clients, and friends and ask them to send emails to their representatives.
The Appropriations Process
The President only proposes a budget. It is up to Congress through the appropriations process to determine what departments and agencies to fund and at what levels. The process for the 2018 budget will start with the Appropriations Committees and Subcommittee drafting legislation that sets funding levels for the NEH, NEA, IMLS, as well as other programs.
In the last several years, we have seen strong, bipartisan support on the Appropriations committee for the NEH including a $1.9 million increase in FY 2016 and increases proposed by both chambers for FY 2017.
It is critically important that this year’s draft appropriations bills in the House and Senate subcommittees provide adequate funding for humanities programs. Strong draft appropriations levels will put our priorities in a good position to counter the President’s budget blueprint.
We should be prepared for actions outside of the typical appropriations process such as blocking amendments that would cut or eliminate funding both in committee and on the floor. If, in contrast, one or both subcommittees do not provide funding for these priorities, we will need to be prepared to restore funding by amendment in subcommittee, committee, or on the floor.
Reports from the AAM and NHA Advocacy Days show that there is bipartisan support in Congress for NEH, NEA, and IMLS. We need to continue to show our Congressional Representatives that NEH, NEA, and IMLS are vital to our democracy and society.