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Senate Appropriations Committee Releases NEA Funding Details

Americans for the Arts, October 20. On Monday, unexpectedly, Senate Appropriations Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) released the texts of 9 of the appropriations bills, as a way of kick-starting some activity around them. Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Leahy are negotiating how to advance the bills further in the Senate.

However, the bill release did give a chance to see what the Interior bill has for the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Most importantly, it calls for $182.5 million for each the NEA and NEH. That’s a $15M increase, which is half of what the House provided (they approved a $33M increase to $201M for the NEA). There is a possibility that the final amount might be a compromise between the House and Senate and set higher than $182.5M. If approved, the Senate increase would be the largest since FY 2008, and the House increase would be the largest in history.
  • FY2022 Senate Approps bill (Page 130) report language touching on arts and health, and state arts agencies. “The NEA is to be commended for its efforts related to Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, to serve the unique needs of patients and families of military personnel and veterans diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injuries and associated psychological health conditions. The Committee supports the NEA’s continued efforts to expand upon this successful program to embed Creative Arts Therapies at the core of integrative care efforts in clinical settings, advance collaboration among clinical and community arts providers to support wellness and reintegration efforts for affected families, and advance research to improve our understanding of impacts of these interventions in both clinical and community settings. The Committee also encourages State arts agencies to explore how they can contribute to expanding arts programs for service members and their families at the local level.”
  • In reviewing the budget table, the $15M increase, if approved would be split among Direct Grants ($7M), State Partnerships ($4.5M) and the balance into administration expenses.
  • NEA is directed to prioritize funds to underserved populations…here’s an abridged version of the legislative language, “In providing services or awarding financial assistance the Chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts shall ensure that priority is given to providing services or awarding financial assistance for projects, productions, workshops, or programs that serve underserved populations…The term ‘‘underserved population’’ means a population of individuals, including urban minorities, who have historically been outside the purview of arts and humanities programs due to factors such as a high incidence of income below the poverty line or to geographic isolation.”
  • There was no extension in the Senate bill (or the House bill) of the General Operating Support waiver for NEA grantees that was included in the American Rescue Plan.