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Full House Committee Approves $20 Million Cut for NEA

Last night, the full House Appropriations Committee passed their initial FY2012 Interior Department funding bill by a vote of 28-18.

This legislation contains a $20 million cut for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), passed last week by the Subcommittee, from FY2011’s $155 million level.

The NEA was not mentioned specifically during the debate which largely centered around changes to the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory authority as that agency’s funding is being cut most dramatically and controversially in this bill.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim Moran said the following in his opening statement:

“This bill is about more than our natural resources and the environment, and while the cultural activities and institutions are a small portion of the bill they are a vital part of our communities and enhance our quality of life.”

Apart from his prepared text, Rep. Moran also said that now is a time to “strengthen” the arts, not cut them, as he voiced general displeasure with the them as he was railing against a litany of other funding reductions in the bill. Full Committee Ranking Member Norm Dicks also expressed support for the nation’s cultural institutions in comments made during the debate.

At this time, it is still unclear when this bill will go to the House Floor for final consideration.

Senate consideration is, at best guess, actionable in the fall. We do expect that during an open amendment process that some amendments may target the NEA for further reductions.

Please take two minutes to send a message to your Members of Congress in support of the NEA.

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