Today, the House of Representatives took the first step in rejecting calls from the Trump Administration to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). However, the legislation considered today does call for a reduction in federal funding for the NEA. The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved legislation that would provide $145 million for the NEA in fiscal year 2018, which represents a cut of $5 million, or about 3 percent, from current levels.
While The Creative Coalition is pleased that both Republicans and Democrats on the Subcommittee overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to eliminate federal funding for the NEA, we urge Congress to spare the NEA from funding cuts. The NEA is a wise investment of federal resources that makes a return of $9 for every $1 spent. The benefits of the arts and the effective work of the NEA are well-documented. Data shows that students with four years of arts education do better on standardized tests, are more likely to graduate from high school, and increase their chances of graduating from college. NEA-supported writing, music, and visual art therapy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir have reached more than 1,000 service members.
“We sincerely appreciate the show of support for the NEA,” said Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition. “It would have been shortsighted to eliminate this funding that is so critical to our creativity and freedom of expression at a time when America needs it most. While we understand the fiscal constraints facing Congress, it is our strong hope that funding can be restored as the appropriations process continues. A 3 percent cut would barely impact some federal programs, but makes all the difference to one such as the NEA, which could make significant impacts to additional communities around the country by maintaining level funding.”
“We are very thankful it appears that the NEA has avoided being eliminated by Congress,” said Tim Daly, President of The Creative Coalition. “While some may have viewed the proposed cut as penny-wise, in reality, it would have been pound-foolish. The 9:1 return on investment of federal dollars directed to the NEA testifies to the effectiveness of the program and of the arts in benefitting our communities, our youth and our service members, among others. We realize times are tough, but we encourage Congress to recognize the exponential value of NEA funding and restore it to its current level.”