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"House Narrowly Defeats Move to Increase NEA/NEH Funds"
1999-07-14 until 1999-07-14
NEA, NEH
Washington, DC, USA United States of America

The U.S. House of Representatives on July 14 narrowly defeated an amendment to the FY 2000 Interior Appropriations bill (H.R. 2466) which would have increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by $10 million each. The amendment, offered by Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Steve Horn (R-CA), and Nancy Johnson (R-CT), failed to pass by a vote of 207 to 217. As the bill went to the floor, it slated $98 million for the NEA and $110.7 for the NEH - the same levels as last year. (Funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Office of Museum Services, on the other hand, was slated to receive $24.4 million, nearly a $1 million increase over last year.)

While the NEA/NEH amendment was defeated, the close vote was a positive development moving Congress away from debating the agencies' survival to restoring them to more healthy levels of funding (historic highs for the agencies were $179.5 million for NEA and $177 million for NEH). In another encouraging move, the House soundly defeated 124 to 300 a move by Cliff Stearns (R-FL) to cut the NEA's budget by $2.1 million. Before final passage of the bill, however, fiscal conservatives succeeded in passing an amendment one effect of which was to trim the roughly $14 billion bill across the board (i.e. every agency and program) by .48 percent, resulting in slight, but damaging decreases for the three cultural agencies. The full Senate has not yet debated its version of the Interior Appropriations bill, which currently recommends slight increases for all three cultural agencies: $23.9 million for OMS (a $500,000 increase), $99 million and $111.7 million for NEH (a $1million increase for each endowment). As always, the House and Senate eventually will have to reconcile the differences in their respective bills in a conference committee. AAM Government Affairs continues to be active on Capitol Hill to secure, with your help, the highest funding levels possible for the federal cultural agencies. In the meantime, we want to thank you for your hard work advocating for the cultural agencies - we've come a long way. It's also important to thank your Representative if he/she voted aye on the NEA/NEH amendment and voted noe on the Stearns amendment. (To see how your Representative voted go to http://clerkweb.house.gov/evs/1999/ROLL_200.asp and click on the Roll Call No. 286 for the NEA/NEH amendment and Roll Call No. 287 - for the Stearns amendment.) And it's especially important to offer a letter of thanks if he/she is one of the following who vocally supported the agencies during the House floor debate: Reps. John Baldacci (D-2-ME), Ken Bentsen (D-25-TX), Earl Blumenauer (D-3-OR), Merrill Cook (R-2-UT), Danny Davis (D-7-IL), Norman Dicks (D-6-WA), Sam Farr (D-17-CA), Maurice Hinchey (D-26-NY), Sue Kelly (R-19-NY), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-18-TX), Nita Lowey (D-18-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-14-NY), Carolyn McCarthy (D-4-NY), Connie Morella (R-8-MD), Jerrold Nadler (D-8-NY), James Oberstar (D-8-MN), Nancy Pelosi (D-8-NY), Janice Schakowsky (D-9-IL), Christopher Shays (R-4-CT), Lynn Woolsey (D-6-CA). In addition, an extra big thanks needs to go to the major sponsors of the NEA/NEH amendment who also all spoke on the House floor: Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-28-NY), Steve Horn (R-38-CA), and Nancy Johnson (R-6-CT). For more information, please contact us at (202) 289-9125. Thanks again!


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