Advocacy Alert: June 15

Senate Committee Approves IMLS Funding; Congress Needs to Hear From You

This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill to fund the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). While the bill would sustain the current $30.8 million for the Office of Museum Services for FY13, this is just the first step in the appropriations process.

The bill faces an uncertain future because it includes funding for implementation of the health care reforms enacted in 2010. In a preview of the difficult budgetary decisions to come, Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby said, “In this grave fiscal climate we should not fund programs we know are going to force our country deeper into debt...We should not mortgage our children's future for non-essential, unproven programs."

AAM President Ford W. Bell urged continued advocacy. "At a time when every federal program is being scrutinized, Members of Congress need to hear from constituents about how IMLS funds are essential to museums and how successful they are in serving our communities," he said. "Participating in ‘Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum Week' is a great opportunity to demonstrate our value."

The bill would provide $158.8 billion in discretionary funding, a $2 billion increase over FY12 levels, which is in line with President Obama's FY13 budget request. The bill also includes $549 million (level funding) for the Race to the Top initiative, President Obama's signature competitive grant program, which rewards states for making changes in elementary and secondary education.

Let your members of Congress know how important funding for the Office of Museum Services is to you!