national endowment for the arts

Funding the National Endowment for the Arts

Background on National Endowment for the Arts Advocacy

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is our nation’s chief supporter of the arts and celebrates the arts as a national priority, critical to America’s future. The arts have the power to transport audiences, unite communities, promote empathy and understanding, and humanize difference. For 50 years, the NEA has provided strategic leadership and investment in the arts through its core grant programs for dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, local arts agencies, media arts, multidisciplinary arts, music, theater, visual arts, and other programs.

Talking points:

  • Every congressional district has received the benefit of a NEA grant. These grants have supported arts activities for active-duty servicemembers, veterans, and their families; rural communities, and communities with socio-economic challenges.
  • NEA grants have a high return on investment: every $1 of grant funding is matched by almost $9 of private or other non-federal support. NEA investments factor into the arts and culture sector contributing 4.2% to the national GDP, an impressive $729 billion.
  • NEA funds connect communities by supporting partnerships between arts organizations and K-12 schools, colleges, and universities; as well as partnerships between state education agencies and state arts agencies. Approximately 40% of the NEA’s program funds are distributed through state arts agencies.

PAA is asking Congress for $155 million for the NEA in the FY 2018 Interior Appropriations bill. For more information and talking points, see the NEA Advocacy Issue Brief.

What We're Asking For Right Now

We urge Congress to:

Support a budget of $155 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the FY 2018 Interior Appropriations bill in order to preserve access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and to advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States.

Back to top

Recent Activity

PAA Testifies About NEA to Congressional Appropriators

Last month, PAA submitted written testimonies about the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. These subcommittees make recommendations for the NEA’s budget.

PAA’s testimonies highlighted the value of the NEA’s support for the performing arts in the United States and included specific examples of PAA member organizations’ programs and services that have received recent grant support from the agency. Click here to read PAA’s testimonies.

House & Senate Bills Approve $146M for NEA

The NEA appropriations process kicked off on June 10 when the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies met to discuss its FY16 spending bill. This bill contains funding for the NEA. Thus far, both the Interior Appropriations Subcommittees and full Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate have recommended $146 million for the NEA. This is the same amount the agency has received in the last four years and is almost $2 million less than the President’s FY16 request. Timeline of events:

  • June 10: House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee debated the spending bill and approved $146 million for the NEA
  • June 16: the full House Appropriations Committee approved the spending bill with the same amount approved by the Subcommittee
  • June 16: the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee debated its version of the bill and also approved $146 million for the NEA
  • June 18: the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Interior spending bill with the same amount approved by the Subcommittee The next step in the process is for the full Senate and full House to debate their respective Interior spending bills. Both Chambers of Congress are aiming to finish appropriations before the July 4th recess.

PAA advocates for $155 million for the NEA. We ask for this amount because although the NEA has been funded at $146 million for the past four years, previously, both the President and the Senate Appropriations Committee have supported $155 million, most recently in FY11.

NEA Appropriations Underway

Both the House and Senate are considering their FY16 Interior Appropriations bills which contain recommendations for the NEA’s budget for the next fiscal year. On June 10, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved $146 million for the NEA. The full House will vote on the bill on Tuesday June 14 at 10:15am. Click here to write your representative and ask for $155M for the NEA!

The Senate Interior Appropriations Committee is set to consider its FY16 appropriations bill on Tuesday, June 14 at 2:30pm. If you live in California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, you have a senator that serves on this committee. Write your Senator today and ask for $155M for the NEA in FY16!

President Obama Releases His FY16 Budget

The Obama Administration released its budget request for FY 2016. It requested $148 million for the NEA, an increase of almost $2 million.

NEA Receives Level Funding for FY15

Congress passed two additional short-term continuing resolutions to provide a few extra days for final passage of the “CRomnibus” appropriations bill for FY15. On December 16, The President signed the CRomnibus–the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015–into law. It continues level funding at $146 million for the NEA and NEH through September 30, 2015.

Congress Avoids Partial Government Shutdown

Having failed to pass any appropriations bills, Congress passed a continuing resolution extending federal funding until December 11 and avoiding a partial government shutdown. The President enacted the resolution.

FY14 Budget Victory for the NEA

On Friday, January 17, President Obama signed into law the $1.1 trillion spending package passed a few days prior by the House and Senate. Lawmakers reached a deal on this spending package in December 2013. The spending bill allocates $146,021,000 to the NEA for FY14 which restores its budget to near-FY12 funding levels. This is nearly double the $75,000,000 the House proposed for FY14 in its Interior bill over the summer. Due to your advocacy efforts, the NEA’s budget has recovered from the 5% cut it received in the FY13 sequester.

Back to top


Looking for older information on this issue? Please visit the Archive