Congress Gives the Arts a Funding Boost

Issued by Americans for the Art on May 1, 2017

Congress has reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill to fund the nation’s federal agencies and programs for the remaining balance of the current FY2017 fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2017.  None of the nation’s arts and cultural agencies nor programs incurred a budget cut. In fact, many of them received funding increases for this year (see chart below).

Special thanks:

Special thanks to House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) for initiating a funding increase for many of these cultural programs in the House Interior bill and to Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for matching the funding increases in the Senate version of the bill. Many thanks to Congressional Arts Caucus co-chairs Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Senate Cultural Caucus co-chairs Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) for keeping member pressure on Congressional leaders to increase funding for these critically important cultural agencies. Huge thanks to our 350,000 Arts Action Fund members for contacting their Members of Congress, signing our petitions to the White House, and sharing their stories on social media and with traditional media.

Key Federally Funded Arts & Culture Agencies/Programs FY 2016 Enacted Appropriations
(in millions)
FY 2017 Omnibus Proposal
(in millions)
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) $148 $150
National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) $148 $150
Assistance for Arts Education through U.S. Department of Education $27 $27
New ESSA Well-Rounded Education grants $400
Corp for Public Broadcasting (forward funded) $445 $445
Office of Museum Services $31 $32
Smithsonian Institution $840 $863
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum $54 $57
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts $36 $36
U.S. Commission of Fine Arts $2.65 $2.8
Nat’l Capital Arts & Cultural Affairs Program $2 $2
National Gallery of Art $148 $155.5

Next Steps:

  • FY2017:  Both chambers of Congress will next vote on this bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations bill before it proceeds to the President’s desk for him to sign/veto by this Friday, May 5th.  Despite the President recently proposing funding cuts to many of these cultural programs (i.e. $15 million cut to NEA), it appears that he will sign the bill.
  • FY2018:  Please note that the FY2018 appropriations bill for funding the federal government from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018 is still very much in play and going through the legislative process. This is the bill that the President recommended eliminating the NEA, NEH, IMLS, CPB, etc.  We remain focused on getting all of these agencies fully funded as well in the coming months.

Our #SAVEtheNEA campaign continues to go strong to advance the FY2018 message to Congress and the White House.  Please consider sending a #SAVEtheNEA message to your Congressional delegation as well as supporting our advocacy campaign efforts with a contribution.