The Senate and House adjourned for the summer recess on Friday, August 6, leaving the
FY00 Interior Appropriations Bill pending on the Senate floor. When Congress
reconvenes on September 8, funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
and other programs in the Interior money bill will be back on the Senate agenda.
Before adjournment, the issue of NEA funding came up in the form of an amendment,
sponsored by Sens. Robert Smith (R-NH) and John Ashcroft (R-MO), to eliminate all
money in the bill for the NEA. The Smith-Ashcroft amendment was soundly defeated in
the form of a motion to table which passed, 80-16.
In proposing the amendment, Smith explained that his objective was not to reform or
restructure the NEA, but to close it down. He argued that federal funding for the
National Endowment for the Arts is unconstitutional. Ashcroft joined Smith in speaking
in support of their amendment.
More senators lined up to speak against the amendment and in support of the work of
the NEA -- and the state arts agencies. Please take time to send a note of thanks to your
senators listed here who went to the Senate floor to argue in favor of federal funding for
Dick Durbin (D)
Paul Wellstone (D)
Harry Reid (D)
Charles Robb (D)
Slade Gorton (R)
Robert Byrd (D),
John D. Rockefeller IV (D)
Those senators who voted against tabling the amendment represent the last line of
opposition to federal arts funding in the U.S. Senate. They need to hear from their
constituents who favor spending federal funds on the arts that their vote was a
disappointment to voters back home.
Please review the list of those sixteen senators. If any are from your state, write and tell
them that you disagree with their vote to support the elimination of NEA funds. Let them
know how federal dollars make the arts possible for citizens in your state.
Senators who voted against tabling the Smith-Ashcroft amendment to cut all NEA
Jeff Sessions (R)
Jon L. Kyl (R),
John McCain (R)
Tim Hutchinson (R)
Connie Mack (R)
Peter G. Fitzgerald (R)
Sam Brownback (R)
Jim Bunning (R)
John Ashcroft (R)
Chuck Hagel (R)
Robert Smith (R)
Jesse Helms (R)
James M. Inhofe (R),
Don Nickles (R)
Strom Thurmond (R)
Phil Gramm (R)
The appropriations bill pending Senate floor votes sets NEA funding at $99 million --
an increase of $1 million over the current budget level. An amendment with bipartisan
sponsorship to add $4 million more to the NEA's appropriation is expected to come to
the Senate floor in September.
The final funding level will be decided upon by a House-Senate conference committee.
The House-passed bill keeps NEA funding at $98 million for next year.