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This week is a big week in Congress for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)! Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are meeting on the annual NEA funding bill this week. Support for NEA funding is one of the key legislative asks during Advocacy Day, so...
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This week is a big week in Congress for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)!

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are meeting on the annual NEA funding bill this week. Support for NEA funding is one of the key legislative asks during Advocacy Day, so we want to keep you updated on this action.

First, on Tuesday, the Senate will be considering their bill in subcommittee. We should know their proposed funding level for the NEA soon. Take two minutes now to reiterate your support for $155 million for the NEA for Fiscal Year 2017!

Then on Wednesday, the House will consider their version in "full" committee. As you may recall, the House advanced their version prior to Memorial Day when the subcommittee approved legislation on a voice-vote to fund the NEA at an increase of nearly $2 million to $150 million for FY 2017! This equals the President's request and is a tribute to your continued advocacy. However, on Wednesday, the full committee will consider amendments to the bill. It is possible that there may be amendments to try to decrease the proposed funding. Weigh in now to remind your members what this funding means to you and your community as they consider amendments one-by-one.

Finally, on Thursday, the Senate will pick their bill back up with consideration in the Appropriations Committee. Amendments are also anticipated, which could increase or decrease NEA funding.

Next Steps

There is a lot of rapid committee action this week on these key annual funding bills. The work will clear the bills for possible floor consideration and a vote later this year. However, log-jams are still anticipated ahead, both because Congress isn't in session as much this year due to the elections this fall and because of ongoing policy disagreements and "riders" sinking bills. For instance, earlier the House defeated their Energy and Water Appropriations bill on the floor by an overwhelming majority after numerous "riders" were added as amendments.

Although final decisions on funding levels for this year aren't expected until after the November elections, this week is a key week to reinforce the messages you delivered during Arts Advocacy Day and remind members the difference NEA funding makes in your community.

PS: Last week, we let you know that the Senate was also considering its bill funding arts education. On June 9th, the Senate Appropriations Committee cleared this bill, now also readying it for future floor consideration and a vote. The bill sustains funding for the key Assistance for Arts Education program at $27 million at the U.S. Department of Education. However, it only provides $300 million for the new Student Success and Academic Enrichment Grants, which can also support arts education in K-12 schools. The good news is there is strong commitment from Senators to try to fulfill the goals of the Every Student Succeeds Act and work to achieve the authorized funding level of $1.65 billion for this grant program as this bill continues through the legislation process. Thanks to all arts advocates who took 2 minutes to weigh in. Both Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) spoke up in support of this program after hearing from advocates! Check out the audio from the markup here.
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This week when Congress returns from their Memorial Day break, work is turning to federal funding for education, including the new block grant recently authorized by the newly enacted K-12 education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This new block grant, the...
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This week when Congress returns from their Memorial Day break, work is turning to federal funding for education, including the new block grant recently authorized by the newly enacted K-12 education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This new block grant, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, was authorized with bipartisan support at $1.65 billion. But whether it receives that funding is under threat.
 
As you may know, ESSA contains a number of pro-arts provisions, but much of the choice on whether to take advantage of those opportunities is up to states like [state name].
 
For instance, Congress decided to consolidate more than 20 existing programs into this one block grant program. States and districts will choose where best to spend their dollars in order to help all students develop the skills essential for learning readiness and academic success. Importantly, at least 20 percent of the funding is directed to well-rounded education, which includes activities in the arts (including dance, media arts, music, theatre and visual arts!)
 
But, the funding is under threat. President Obama in his February budget proposal requested just $500 million for the program, less than one-third of its authorized level! Many members of Congress spoke out against this proposal, including the leadership of the U.S. House Education Committee. Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) wrote in a letter:


Take 2 minutes now to let your member of Congress know you support full funding for this block grant that can support arts education in schools. Your U.S. Senator serves on the key committee weighing this funding proposal this week!

We greatly appreciate your taking the time to reach out to your member of Congress during this critical time.
 
Thank you for your support of the arts and arts education!
 
 
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Take action: Urge your Senators to Cosponsor the CREATE Act
On Arts Advocacy Day, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) announced new legislation to strengthen the creative economy to a crowd of over 500 arts advocates. Entitled Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy (CREATE) Act (S.2648), the...
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