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Contact Your Legislators and Get Ready for Invite Congress

Category: Advocacy Alert
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Advocacy Alert – July 15, 2022

In this Alliance Advocacy Alert:

  • Take Action: Urge Your Legislators to Support the Office of Museum Services (OMS)
  • Get Ready: #InviteCongress is August 15-19!
  • Attention Nonprofit Employers: “Did you forget to claim refundable tax credits from the IRS?”
  • Support Funding for Museums: Contact Congress About the Civics Supports Democracy Act

Urge Your Legislators to Support the Office of Museum Services (OMS)

Good news! Your advocacy efforts continue to get results. If passed by Congress, the IMLS Office of Museum Services (OMS) would get a $6.8 million increase to $54.3 million in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill approved in late June by the House Appropriations Committee. This impressive 14% increase is just shy of the $7 million increase requested during Museums Advocacy Day and is $2 million more than the president’s budget request. In addition, IMLS would get an additional $1.1 million for Research, Analysis, and Data Collection expected to benefit museums. Every Museum Services program would see an increase:

  • $1.3 million increase for Museums for America up to $29.2 million;
  • $1.7 million increase for National Leadership: Museums up to $9.8 million;
  • $1 million increase for Native American/Hawaiian Museum Service up to $3.3 million;
  • $769,000 increase for Museum Grants for African American History & Culture up to $6 million; and
  • $2 million for Museum Grants for American Latino History & Culture up to $6 million.

This continues a steady upward trend in the OMS budgets over the past few fiscal years – four consecutive years of increases totaling $12.8 million – and is the result of our dedicated efforts together to underscore museums as essential infrastructure in their communities.

What Can I Do? Now is a critical time to make sure your Representative and Senators know how much their support of this funding matters to constituents like you. We urge you to take a moment right now, using our quick and easy template, to contact Congress in support of OMS funding at IMLS.

Ask Congress to Support FY 2023 OMS Funding Now

In the Interior Appropriations bill, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts would each receive $207 million, $27 million above the FY 22 level. The bill also would slate $171 million for the Historic Preservation Fund. Within this amount, the bill includes $82 million for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices ($8 million increase), $38 million for Save America’s Treasures grants ($11.5 million increase), $28 million for competitive grants to preserve the sites and stories of underrepresented community civil rights (level funded), $10 million for grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (level funded), $10 million for Rural Historic Revitalization Grants (level funded), and $3 million for the National Park Service’s Semiquincentennial Preservation Grants ($7 million decrease).

The funding process has a long way to go and may not wrap up until right before the end of December, or possibly early 2023, and likely would require several stopgap funding measures known as Continuing Resolutions (CR) as Congress is unlikely to meet the October 1 fiscal year deadline. The full House is expected to consider these funding bills soon and the Senate Appropriations subcommittees have begun drafting their measures. So this is a critical time to maintain our advocacy and we encourage you to take action now.

Get Ready for Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum

Now is the time to invite your legislators to participate in Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum Week! Make the case for museums by connecting with your legislators and their staff members to share first-hand your unique programs, how you’re serving the community, and the critical needs museums have. The Alliance’s detailed Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum How-To Guide includes step-by-step instructions, such as:

  • information about planning and preparing for visits with your elected officials
  • Legislator Directory to find your legislators and their social media information
  • template invitation message
  • resources for developing your key messages and making the case
  • sample timelines for meetings or visits
  • many more additional tips and advice for successful interactions

#InviteCongress to Visit Your Museum!

Since 2012, the national, fieldwide #InviteCongress effort has encouraged and empowered museums of all types and sizes to invite their federal, state, and local legislators and stakeholders in to the museum for a firsthand look at the powerful work of museums and museum professionals.

AAM’s How-To Guide makes it easy to get started today.

Don’t forget to let us know what #InviteCongress activities you are planning!

Did you forget to claim refundable tax credits from the IRS?

AAM continues to work to build bipartisan support for legislation (H.R. 6161/S.3625) to reinstate the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) for the fourth quarter of 2021. If enacted, it would generate tens of millions of dollars for charitable nonprofits, including museums, across the country. Although Congress canceled the Employee Retention Tax Credit effective the end of September 2021, there is still time for eligible nonprofits, including museums, to claim this refundable tax credit that can offset employment taxes and generate refund payments. A recent National Council of Nonprofits article lays out the basics for claiming the Employee Retention Tax Credits for 2020 and 2021. It answers questions from nonprofits while sticking to plain-English discussion of a complex tax topic.

Contact Congress About the Civics Supports Democracy Act (H.R. 1814/S. 4384)

AAM is a member of the CivXNow Coalition and supports this bipartisan legislation that would provide $5 billion to fund K-12 history and civics education and programs over the next five years. If passed into law and fully funded, at least $200 million annually would go to “qualified nonprofit organizations,” such as museums, through competitive grants. Learn more about the act and contact Congress to ask them to support it.

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

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