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House Committee Approves Bill that Continues to Fund NEA and NEH

A new bill that was passed by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee may save the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities from being axed by the Trump administration, Graham Bowley of the New York Times reports.

When President Donald Trump announced that he planned to eliminate the two federal agencies from the 2018 federal budget in March, arts advocates across the country were outraged. In the months since he revealed his proposal for the nation’s spending priorities, there have been protests, petitions, and calls to action to protect the endowments.

Ken Calvert, the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, drafted the bill, which was approved by a vote of 30–21. Totaling $31.4 billion, the bill also includes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service, which will receive $7.5 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively. It will award $145 million to both the NEA and the NEH—approximately $5 million less than their current budgets for the 2017 fiscal year.

“It is a very solid rejection of the administration’s proposals to terminate the two agencies,” said Narric Rome, who is responsible for government affairs at the advocacy group Americans for the Arts. “We consider the House number to be a very good starting point for the appropriations process.” The bill needs to be passed by a full House vote before it can be presented to the Senate.