March 26, 2018 Advocacy Report

Advocacy Update

Dear Friend of the Arts,

We wanted to share some good news with you today. You may have seen that last Friday Congress passed, and the President signed into law, an omnibus spending bill that will continue to fund the government for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year, which started in October 2017. The bill included great news for the cultural sector:

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will each receive $152.849 million for the current fiscal year, representing a $3 million increase over the FY2017 budget. The increase to the NEA is directed toward expanding the Creative Forces: Military Healing Arts Network and increasing grants made available to indigenous, rural, and underserved areas. The budget language commends “the NEA for its work incorporating arts therapy into the treatment of active-duty military patients, veterans and their families” through this program. Congress also encourages the timely appointment of individuals to fill the vacancies on the National Council on the Arts, positions that are appointed by the president.

Additional successes include:

  • The Assistance for Arts Education grant program at the U.S. Department of Education received $29 million, a $2 million increase over the previous fiscal year.
  • The Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants program at the U.S. Department of Education is funded at $1.1 billion, a $700 million increase from FY2017.
  • The Office of Citizen Exchange within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State received $111.4 million, level funding from the previous fiscal year.
  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services received a $9 million increase, including a $3 million increase to museums.
  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which had been slated to be defunded in previous budget drafts, will receive level funding.
  • The Johnson Amendment, which protects charitable nonprofits from partisan politicking, was neither repealed nor weakened.

This budget represents an incredible show of bipartisan support from Congress. The administration’s 2018 budget proposal requested the elimination of the cultural agencies. The government has been funded through a series of continuing resolutions since October 2017, with the most recent CR having ended on Friday, March 23.

Thank you for your ongoing advocacy. Please be sure to reach out to your members of Congress to express thanks for their ongoing support for the arts.

You can find more information about all our advocacy issues and ways to contact your representative, voice your opinion, and support the Arts on the PAA website:


In addition, we would like to acknowledge the incredible work and life of U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, who passed away last week. Rep. Slaughter’s support of the arts was and continues to be instrumental in helping to keep arts funding and programs vibrant and vital. Most recently, Rep. Slaughter co-sponsored a letter to Congress in support of Arts funding for 2019, which was signed by a record 166 members. Please see the attached letter, along with a brief note from the NEA, in recognition of Rep. Slaughter’s passing.  
NEA Statement on Re. Louise Slaughter