Advocacy Alert – July 14, 2023
In this Alliance Advocacy Alert:
- House Appropriations Action: Level Funding for IMLS; Cuts to NEH/NEA; Contact Congress!
- #InviteCongress 2023: Use Our How-To Guide to Participate
- Civic Holidays 2023: Find Resources to Participate and Get #VoteReady
House Appropriations Action: Level Funding for IMLS; Cuts to NEH/NEA; Contact Congress!
The Congressional appropriations process has shifted in to high gear with committee-level consideration of key spending bills ongoing. Today the House Labor-HHS-Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved a bill that if enacted would provide funding level with the current fiscal year for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which includes the Office of Museum Services (OMS), for fiscal year (FY) 2024, which begins October 1, 2023. While the details of the museum program funding levels will not be provided until full House Appropriations Committee consideration, funding similar to FY 2023’s record $55.5 million for OMS would be expected.
Given recent substantial increases to the agency during the last several years and the current challenging political environment with hardline conservatives in the House demanding steep spending cuts, to emerge with level funding in a bill that slashes overall funding by 29 percent compared with FY 2023 and eliminates numerous federal programs is a remarkable achievement. Kudos to museum advocates across the country!
However, the process has a long way to go. Senate action has lagged behind the House. Drastic House spending cuts across many federally-funded programs set up a clash with opposition from the Senate (and White House) and increase the chance of a government shutdown. In addition, there is potential either in the full House Appropriations Committee or on the House floor for amendments seeking to further cut or eliminate agencies or programs, including those that benefit museums. We will be closely monitoring the appropriations process and are prepared to strongly oppose any such efforts.
Similar to previous years, Congress is unlikely to pass all appropriations bills by October 1 and is expected to require a (or multiple) Continuing Resolution(s) or CR(s) to keep the federal government operating. Negotiations are unlikely to be resolved prior to the December holidays and a federal government shutdown is possible. In the meantime, it’s critical for you to keep up your efforts urging your legislators’ support for OMS.
Unfortunately, other programs and agencies that benefit museums have so far not fared as well. The House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved a bill July 13 that if enacted would cut FY 2024 funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) by 10 percent compared with FY 2023 to $186.3 million each. Please contact Congress now to urge support for the NEH and NEA.
#InviteCongress 2023: Use Our How-To Guide to Participate
Have you made your plans to participate in #InviteCongress? Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum week is coming up August 14-18! Since 2012, #InviteCongress has 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 meaningful work of museums and museum professionals. Inviting legislators and their staff to experience your museum and its programs helps them become invested in the museum. The August Congressional work period provides a critical and timely opportunity for museum advocates to make the case for federal, state, and local support for museums.
Get started today with our full How-To Guide, which includes these and other resources to help you:
- Find your legislators and their offices’ local contact information
- Send an invitation to your legislators’ offices using our template
- Get step-by-step guidance for planning and preparing for your visit
- Learn about 6 Reasons to Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum (2.5 min. video)
Be sure to share your plans with us and use #InviteCongress on social media!
Civic Holidays 2023: Find Resources to Participate and Get #VoteReady
Did you know that nonprofits, including museums, can play a powerful civic engagement role in their communities? AAM is again participating as a national community partner of National Voter Registration Day and the additional Civic Holidays, including National Voter Education Week and Vote Early Day. Check out our expanded and updated Nonprofit Voter Resources, which provide a wide range of information about the many ways museums and nonprofits can engage in advocacy, lobbying, and permissible nonpartisan voter engagement activities. Use these informational resources to participate and help ensure that as many communities as possible are #VoteReady and represented in the democratic process.
Your steadfast advocacy efforts make a huge difference in building needed support for museums and museum professionals.
Visit http://www.aam-us.org/advocacy to access all of AAM’s advocacy resources.