This morning, the Trump Administration formally proposed eliminating the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in its preliminary budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018. These eliminations are part of a package that the administration projects would cut $54 billion in domestic spending in order to offset an identical increase in defense spending. Although a full budget proposal is not expected from the Administration until May, this document also appears to target museum-related programs at the Department of Education, the Department of State, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“While these proposals from the Trump Administration were rumored for some time, they are no less alarming and disturbing to see released today. The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other programs play an essential role in helping museums make the arts and the humanities accessible to all Americans,” said Alliance President and CEO Laura Lott. “It is Congress—not the President—that will ultimately determine funding levels for these vital agencies. After a record-setting presence at Museums Advocacy Day 2017, the Alliance will continue to work with our allies to build on Congress’ tradition of strong bipartisan support for these agencies. We hope you will join our efforts today.”
Congressional Budget Process Kicks Off; Make Your Voice Heard
Over the next few weeks, members of Congress will begin to inform the House and Senate Appropriations Committees—which have jurisdiction over this area of federal spending—which programs they believe should receive funding in Fiscal Year 2018. Those committees will then strongly consider this information as they begin writing funding bills. As part of this process, U.S. Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and David McKinley (R-WV) as well as U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are circulating letters of support for the IMLS Office of Museum Services.
While some legislators in both parties have already expressed skepticism about the budget proposal, this is the first time that a president has ever called for eliminating any of these agencies. Find out how much funding museums in your state get from IMLS, NEH, and NEA with our State Snapshots, and tell your legislators to support NEH and NEA today.