Archive for May 1st, 2017

NEA? NEH? PBS? We told you so!

Monday, May 1st, 2017
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Donald_TrumpI’ve always maintained that the three most beloved words in the English language are not “I love you,” but rather, “You were right.” So I’m waiting…

Still waiting… Crickets?

When I said that President Trump doesn’t have the ability to eliminate federal agencies, as he suggested by recommending the complete defunding of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, I was challenged. One Facebook friend, a well-known editor, flamed and unfriended me. Others expressed expressed skepticism. Meanwhile, champions of the agencies lobbied fiercely in Washington D.C., where the NEA and NEH  have wide bipartisan support, as I reported here.

Dana Gioia was one of them, and he said to the Sierra Poetry Festival in Grass Valley last month that he was 99% certain all would be well. (More on that event later.)

According to the Los Angeles Times:

The spending bill that Congress is expected to vote on this week includes a promotion for the two agencies:  $150 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and the same for the Humanities endowment. In both cases, that’s a $2-million increase over last fiscal year. No cut in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney had advocated the cuts, saying that it was unfair to take money from working families to support programs such as the endowments and public television.

But it was clear from the outset that Trump’s plan would face trouble in Congress. Most NEA funds go to support community arts groups in all 50 states, with rural, Republican-leaning states topping the lists of spending per person. As a result, arts programs have a strong constituency in Congress, especially on the appropriations committees that dole out spending.

Mulvaney and his allies in the most conservative wing of the GOP have tried to cut money for arts programs in the past with no success.

The deal only lasts through the end of September, and the fight could be renewed for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, but the basic congressional dynamics aren’t likely to change.

Of course, it still has to get voted on, but I refer you to the third paragraph above, and also my earlier report.

What’s that? Oh yes. You’re so very welcome.