Advocacy Alert: Feb. 10, 2009

House and Senate Set to Reconcile Differences in Economic Stimulus Bill; Urge Conferees to Delete Funding Ban on Museums, Zoos and Aquariums!

Today, the Senate passed its version of an economic stimulus bill, which includes a provision specifically excluding museums, zoos and aquariums from being allowed to compete for any funds made available in the $838 billion bill. Senate passage sets the stage for a "Conference Committee," which will sort out differences between the Senate-passed bill and the House-passed $819 billion bill. Conferees will begin work today and a final bill is expected to be completed very quickly, so we must act now!

The House-passed bill includes the language (Sec. 1109), "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool."

The Senate-passed bill includes the language (Sec. 1609), "None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center and highway beautification project."

"We strongly urge the deletion of this misguided provision, which would set a dangerous precedent for the future," said AAM President Ford W. Bell. "Museums are also being hard hit by this economy, laying off workers and cutting back on services. Not allowing museums to even compete for the funds in this bill is wrongheaded and completely disregards the fact that museums play a critical role in our communities as economic engines."

If the following members of Congress represent you, please contact them today to ask that they work to get this funding prohibition on museums, zoos, and aquariums deleted from the final bill.

Here are the H.R. 1 House-Senate Conferees: 

  • Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) 
  • Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) 
  • Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) 
  • Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) 
  • Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) 
  • Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) 
  • Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) 
  • Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) 
  • Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) 
  • Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.)

You can also send a letter to your own Representative and Senators to let them know the economic impact your museum has on your community.