In this Alliance Advocacy Alert:
- #InviteCongress 2023: It’s Time for Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum
- August Appropriations Update: Keep Speaking Up for Museums – Contact Congress
- Civic Holidays 2023: Resources to Get #VoteReady Today
#InviteCongress 2023: It’s Time for Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum
Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum week is just around the corner on August 14-18!
Do you have plans for legislators or staff to visit your museum this month? 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 is a powerful way to create valuable relationships with them and help them become uniquely invested in the museum. The August Congressional work period provides a critical and timely opportunity for museum advocates to build and strengthen important federal, state, and local support for museums.
Make your plans 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, including key “asks” for federal legislators:
- 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!
August Appropriations Update: Keep Speaking Up for Museums
The Congressional appropriations process is in full swing. On July 27, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Labor-HHS-Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill and released report language with Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) budget details (pp. 264-265), which included recommended cuts of $3.25 million to Office of Museum Services (OMS) programs. Under these levels, OMS would be reduced from the current $55.5 million to $52.2 million total if enacted for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, which begins October 1, 2023.
In detail, Museums for America would be level funded at $30,330,000, Native American/Hawaiian Museum Services would be level funded at $3,772,000, National Leadership Grants would be cut by $500,000 to $8,848,000, African American History and Culture Act Grants would be cut by $750,000 to $5,250,000, and National Museum of the American Latino Act Grants would be cut by $2 million to $4,000,000. In addition, $1 million would be cut from overall IMLS Administration and $500,000 from overall IMLS Research, Analysis and Data Collection.
These recommended cuts are disappointing. However, given spending restrictions imposed by the debt limit deal providing the Committee with $1.2 billion less for FY 2024 than FY 2023, these recommended cuts could have been deeper. It is notable that Senate appropriators have cleared all 12 appropriations bills out of Committee for the first time in five years and did so in a strong bipartisan fashion.
On the House side, the House Labor-HHS-Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved a bill on July 14 that if enacted would provide level funding for OMS. 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. In light of 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.
Regardless of the above developments, the appropriations process has a long way to go. 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 at least $55.5 million for OMS.
NEH and NEA: On July 27, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill with funding level with FY 2023 of $207 million each for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Previously on July 19, the full House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that if enacted would cut FY 2024 funding by 10 percent compared with FY 2023 to $186.3 million for each agency. Please contact Congress now to urge support of at least $207 million for the NEH and NEA.
Civic Holidays 2023: Resources to Get #VoteReady Today
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. Our expansive Nonprofit Voter Resources provide a wide range of information about the many ways museums and nonprofits can engage in advocacy, lobbying, and permissible nonpartisan voter engagement activities. These free informational resources are available to help you and your organization participate and ensure that as many communities as possible are #VoteReady and prepared to make their voices heard 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.