Advocacy Alert – July 30, 2018
Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum – Use the AAM “How To” Guide!
We’re thrilled to be hearing from museums that are scheduling and planning for their upcoming Invite Congress visits! Already this summer we’ve seen the tough choices legislators are facing as the FY 2019 appropriations process continues to move forward. A visit with local, state or federal elected officials and (or) their staff members is a powerful opportunity to show off the ways your museum serves the community and make the case on issues critical to museums.
It’s never too late to reach out to your legislators, get started today!
What are the issues at play?
Museums benefit from the support of several federal agencies that make funds available to support the artistic, scientific, historical, cultural and educational role of museums. In addition to funding for federal agencies, it’s important to let legislators know how critical the reauthorization of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and charitable giving incentives are to museums.
Get detailed talking points and background information on these key Policy Issues.
What’s in the “How To” Guide?
All the steps and links you need to get your invitations out and prepare for your visits! The Alliance “How To” Guide includes:
- Step-by-step guidelines for finding your legislators, reaching out to their offices (including a customizable online invitation template), and following-up on your requests,
- Resources for preparing materials–including Economic and Educational Impact Statements for your museum and powerful Museums as Economic Engines and Museums & Public Opinion research,
- Messaging for scheduled visits and how to include your staff and board members,
- A sample timeline or schedule for your visits, and
- Tips for learning about your legislators and making your case during the visit.
Want to see what #InviteCongress visits look like? Check out this recent Alliance blog post!
In Case You Missed It: House of Representatives Defeats Proposed Cuts to NEH & NEA
Congratulations museum advocates! Thanks to your calls and emails, the proposed Grothman amendment to cut NEH and NEA funding was soundly rejected on the House floor by a vote of 297 to 114! This represents a big victory for our ongoing efforts over the years to build strong bipartisan support for the federal cultural agencies. See our July 19 Advocacy Alert for more detailed information, including powerful comments from Congressional Arts Caucus co-chairs arts and museum champions, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ). If you haven’t done so already, take a moment to thank your Representative if they voted “no.”*
*Note: Rep. Gonzalez (D-TX) did not intend to vote “yes” in support of the Grothman Amendment and has since reiterated his support for the National Endowments in the Congressional Record.
FY 2019 Appropriations Underway as House and Senate Head into Respective Recesses
The House of Representatives is in recess until September 4 and the Senate is scheduled to be in recess the week of August 6. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have passed all 12 of their appropriations bills and several bills have already been passed by the full House and Senate. While the appropriations process has been faster and more productive than previous years, Congress still has much work to complete before FY 2019 begins on October 1.
Good news for museum advocates so far includes a proposed $2 million increase for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the FY 2019 Senate Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The proposed increase would be split equally $1 million for IMLS Research, Analysis and Data Collection and $1 million for overall IMLS Program Administration. The House version would maintain funding for IMLS at the FY 2018 level of $240 million, including $34.7 million for the Office of Museum Services. The full Senate is expected to debate its bill the week of August 13 while timing for House floor consideration is unclear.
Other good news includes a proposed $2 million increase each for the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts to $155 million for each agency in the House and Senate Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bills. The House has passed its version of the bill, with the Senate expected to follow soon. A House-Senate conference committee will then reconcile other differences between the two bills before they head to final passage.
As the process moves forward, we will continue to keep you posted on developments and when to take action in support of museums. Thank you for your advocacy for museums!