Advocacy Alert: Aug. 5

August Recess Now Underway; Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum!

After a week of considering a highway trust fund fix, a Veterans Affairs overhaul and supplemental border spending, Congress has now left Washington, D.C. until early September.

These are just some of the issues that your legislators will be hearing about during the congressional recess now underway.

Will museums be on the radar? It’s up to us to make sure.
Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum today!

Recently, there has been some good progress on issues affecting museums. The Senate has confirmed new leaders to head the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). In July, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4719, legislation that would permanently reinstate the IRA Charitable Rollover provision, but Senate action on the IRA Charitable Rollover remains to be seen. Also in July the House Appropriations Committee restored proposed funding cuts to NEA and NEH, after you sent over 800 letters to legislators in support of this funding. Members of Congress will return September 8 with limited legislative time to debate tax and spending measures before adjourning for November’s elections. 

How do we make sure the essential role that museums play in communities is understood as legislators make upcoming policy and funding decisions?

“We know what museums do in their communities every day – teaching school children, providing a welcome learning space for those on the autism spectrum, opening their doors to military personnel and their families,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell. “And this is just a small sampling of what goes on at museums around the country. It is up to us to invite legislators in and show them all the ways that museums are essential. I hope every museum will use our tools to Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum today.”

The Alliance provides all the tools you need. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Find out who represents you in Congress.
  2. Send an Invitation letter.
  3. Follow up with the local office until a meeting can be scheduled for the week of August 9, (or offer alternate dates if needed).
  4. Plan the visit! See the Alliance “How To” guide–including what to do before, during, and after the visit.
Don’t forget to take pictures and tag your legislators during your visits. And let us know if you have visits with legislators and their staff scheduled for this August!

Senate Subcommittee Releases NEA, NEH, Historic Preservation Funding Proposal
Just before leaving town for the August recess, the U.S. Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee released legislation that would establish FY 2015 funding levels for a number of programs important to museums. Both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) would receive $150 million (a $4 million increase), while the Historic Preservation Fund would receive an extra $10 million to award grants for the restoration of properties on the National Register of Historic Places. The proposal also contains language, championed by the Association of Art Museum Directors and requested by Ford W. Bell in his testimony to the Subcommittee, that would increase limits for the NEA’s Arts and Artifacts Indemnity program.

P.S. The Alliance’s field-wide advocacy efforts to protect funding for museums and engage legislators throughout the year are made possible through Alliance membership. The broader our membership, the stronger our case for museums. You can join, renew or review all of your membership benefits today. Thank you for your membership!