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September Advocacy: Congress Returns and National Voter Registration Day

Category: Advocacy Alert
Image of the U.S. Capitol 2019

Advocacy Alert – September 15, 2021

In this Alliance Advocacy Alert:

  • Act Now: Urge Legislators to Include Museums in Reconciliation / Infrastructure Legislation
  • Contact Your Senators: Approve House Historic Funding Increase for OMS
  • Become a Partner: National Voter Registration Day

The fall legislative season is upon us. The U.S. Senate returned from August recess this week and the House of Representatives will return next week. Among a full plate of major issues this fall, Congress is focused on passing both a reconciliation package and bipartisan infrastructure bill, funding the government into the new fiscal year beginning October 1, and raising or suspending the debt ceiling.

Urge Legislators to Include Museums in Reconciliation / Infrastructure Legislation

The Alliance continues its efforts to include museums in reconciliation / infrastructure legislation, including sharing this letter from museum associations with Congressional Leadership and more than 2,000 staff. In it, we urge the House and Senate leadership to ensure museums are eligible to receive funding for projects that address the following needs:

Infrastructure 

  • Buildings: New construction and upgrades to existing and historic structures including for energy efficiency, clean energy generation research and demonstration projects, retrofitting and retro-commissioning, and improvement funding.
  • Climate Resilience: To prepare for increasingly frequent extreme weather including coastal erosion, sea level rise, flooding, and fires.
  • Water and Electricity: Ensure all museums have access to safe and clean water infrastructure as well as a modernized electric grid.
  • Broadband: Designate museums as hubs for high-speed internet in low-income and rural areas.

Transportation 

  • Electric Vehicles: Provide funding to support conversion to electric vehicle fleets, installation of electric vehicle charging stations (including for school buses), and allow for integration with city planning to ensure equitable distribution of new routes and stops for municipal electric bus fleets.
  • Roads and Bridges: Repair roads and bridges that link to our institutions.

Congress needs to hear YOUR vital voice. Please contact your Representative and Senators now to ensure museums are eligible for funding in upcoming reconciliation / infrastructure legislation.

Write Now! Include Museums in
Reconciliation / Infrastructure Legislation

Ask Senators to Approve Historic Increase for OMS

Thanks to the continuing efforts of museum advocates across the country, the House of Representatives approved a proposed $14 million (35%) funding increase for Office of Museum Services (OMS) programs at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) July 29. The legislation represents an historic increase from the current $40.5 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 funding to $54.5 million for museum programs in FY 2022 if these numbers hold. The $14 million increase would be allotted as follows:

  • $7 million increase to $33.9 million for Museums for America;
  • $1 million increase to $3.3 million for Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services;
  • $4 million for Museum Grants for American Latino History and Culture (new program); and
  • $2 million increase to $5.2 million for Museum Grants for African American History and Culture.

In addition to those increases, IMLS overall would get an extra $1 million for Research, Analysis, and Data Collection and an extra $1 million for Program Administration. However, the appropriations process has a way to go, and the Senate has yet to act with the beginning of FY 2022 looming October 1. A temporary stop-gap funding measure is expected while Congress finalizes the final spending package during the coming weeks. In the meantime, please contact your Senators using our template urging them to support this increase for OMS.

Become a Partner in National Voter Registration Day

National Voter Registration Day hit all-time records in 2020 for participation in this nonpartisan, civic holiday. Coming up on September 28, we’re excited to build on that momentum as an organizational partner in 2021. We encourage museums to join us as partners to inspire people in your communities to register to vote and get #VoteReady–this year, and every year. Explore resources that can help support your in-person and online voter registration events, learn about becoming a partner (.pdf), review the toolkit for organizations, and get the updated sample social media collateral.

Visit www.aam-us.org/advocacy to access all of AAM’s advocacy resources.

P.S. It’s not too late to #InviteCongress to Visit Your Museum! Use our step-by-step How-To Guide and check out some of the awesome visits that have taken place so far.

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