Advocacy Alert – October 13, 2023
In this Alliance Advocacy Alert:
- Take Action (Part I): A Critical Time to Contact Congress
- Take Action (Part II): Ask Legislators to Cosponsor the Charitable Act
- Mark Your Calendar: Museums Advocacy Day 2024 in Washington, D.C., Feb. 26-27
- Resources Available: National Voter Education Week and Vote Early Day
Speak Up for Museums – A Critical Time to Contact Congress
While a federal government shutdown has been avoided for now with a stopgap measure maintaining funding at fiscal year (FY) 2023 levels through November 17, Congress still has a lot of work to do to pass appropriations legislation for FY 2024, which began on October 1. Complicating matters, work in the House of Representatives has ground to a halt while House Republicans consider who will replace Speaker McCarthy (R-CA), who was removed by hardline members of his own party. Going forward, the FY 2024 appropriations process may require another (or multiple) Continuing Resolution(s) or CR(s) to keep the federal government operating while spending negotiations continue. The possibility of a federal government shutdown, which the Alliance will continue to oppose, remains.
Take Action Now! As the House and Senate work to advance FY 2024 spending bills, it’s critical to urge your legislators to support at least $55.5 million for the Office of Museum Services (OMS).
It’s especially important to reach out to your legislator if they are a Republican member of the House Labor-HHS-Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds OMS, listed below. It takes just a few clicks to personalize and send your message. If you previously sent a message, thank you! We encourage you to send another as it can take several contacts to break through.
Robert Aderholt (R-AL-04), Chairman
Mike Simpson (R-ID-02)
Andy Harris (R-MD-01)
Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03)
John Moolenaar (R-MI-04)
Julia Letlow (R-LA-05)
Andrew Clyde (R-GA-09)
Jake LaTurner (R-KS-02)
Jake Ellzey (R-TX-06)
Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ-06)
Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT-03), Ranking Member
Steny Hoyer (D-MD-05)
Barbara Lee (D-CA-13)
Mark Pocan (D-WI-02)
Lois Frankel (D-FL-21)
Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12)
Josh Harder (D-CA-10)
Status: This summer, a House appropriations subcommittee approved a bill that, if enacted, would provide funding level with FY 2023 of $55.5 million for OMS, while the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would cut FY 2024 funding for OMS by $3.25 million. (For additional appropriations details, see the August 4 Alliance Advocacy Alert.)
As for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that, if enacted, would provide funding level with FY 2023 of $207 million for each agency, while the full House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would cut FY 2024 funding for each agency by 10 percent. Please contact Congress now to urge support of at least $207 million for the NEH and NEA.
In the coming days and weeks, AAM will be on alert to oppose efforts, particularly in the House, to make additional cuts or eliminate agencies and programs that benefit museums, including OMS, NEH and NEA.
Ask Your Legislators: Cosponsor the Charitable Act
Please take a moment to ask your Member of Congress to cosponsor the Charitable Act (H.R. 3435 / S.566). The Charitable Act would restore and expand the charitable deduction for non-itemizing taxpayers, also known as the “universal charitable deduction,” which expired at the end of 2021. The House bill is being led by Representatives Blake Moore (R-UT-01), Danny Davis (D-IL-07), Michelle Steel (R-CA-45), and Chris Pappas (D-NH-01). The Senate version is being led by Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Chris Coons (D-DE), both 2023 Museums Advocacy Day Congressional Honorees for their leadership in sponsoring this legislation.
The bill would incentivize millions of taxpayers to give to museums and other charitable organizations by enabling taxpayers who take the standard deduction (about 88% of taxpayers) to deduct charitable donations of up to one-third of the standard deduction, about $4,600 for individuals and $9,200 for married couples based on the current standard deduction. Please contact your Representative and Senators and urge them to cosponsor the Charitable Act. More information, including a one-pager is available on the Charitable Giving Coalition (CGC) website. AAM is an active member of the CGC and is working with our coalition partners to include the Charitable Act in a potential end-of-year legislative tax package.
If your legislator is in the list below, your voice is especially helpful:
Drew Ferguson (R-GA-03)
Andy Harris (R-MD-01)
David Kustoff (R-TN-08)
Mary Miller (R-IL-15)
Lloyd Smucker (R-PA-11)
Beth Van Duyne (R-TX-24)
John Hoeven (R-ND)
Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Mike Lee (R-UT)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Eric Schmitt (R-MO)
Peter Welch (D-VT)
Mark Your Calendar: Museums Advocacy Day 2024 in Washington, D.C., Feb. 26-27
Museums Advocacy Day mobilizes museum advocates nationwide to help ensure we reach every member of Congress with our message that museums are worthy of federal support and are essential to communities. Your participation matters. Together, we communicate with lawmakers and their staff to ensure museums are included when crucial legislative policies are enacted and critical funding decisions are made. AAM provides the resources and information you need to advocate for museums in February and year-round from wherever you are. Watch for Museums Advocacy Day registration to open this fall and plan to join advocates from across the country in February!
To explore our robust advocacy resources in the meantime, visit: https://www.aam-us.org/topic/advocacy/.
National Voter Education Week and Vote Early Day Resources
Vote Early Day, on October 26, helps ensure that busy schedules, Election Day lines, or last-minute problems don’t prevent voters from having their voices heard! Find free Vote Early Day resources to help your community get #VoteReady and participate in the democratic process.
National Voter Education Week took place Oct. 2-6 and also included resources for:
- Registering to vote or checking your voter registration status
- Requesting a mail-in ballot
- Making a plan to vote
- Learning what’s on your ballot
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.
Does your museum participate in allowable election activities, such as serving as a polling place? Let us know about your experience with these activities.
Your steadfast advocacy efforts make a critical difference in building needed support for museums and museum professionals.
Looking for more advocacy tools and resources? Visit the Advocacy section of our newly-updated Resource Library today!
Visit http://www.aam-us.org/advocacy to learn more about AAM’s advocacy for museums.