Arts Receive Significant Boosts in FY18 Omnibus

March 23, 2018

Congress Increases FY18 Arts Funding!

A bipartisan federal spending deal includes a $3 million increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)! At long last, Congress agreed on and passed a catch-all spending bill for FY2018, the current fiscal year that began on October 1, 2017. Despite proposals from the Trump Administration to terminate the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), each of these agencies and other arts-related initiatives are receiving increases, and the President has just signed the bill into law today.
FY18 by the numbers:
  • National Endowment for the Arts: $152.849 million ($3M increase)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities: $152.849 million ($3M increase)
  • Assistance for Arts Education: $29 million ($2M increase)
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Supporting a "well-rounded education" in Title IV-A in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act): $1.1 billion ($700M increase)
  • Office of Citizen Exchange within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State: $111.4 million (same as FY17)
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting: $445 million for FY20 (CPB is forward-funded)
  • Institute for Museum and Library Services: $240 million ($9M increase)

Thank you for all you have done to engage with your elected officials over the last year, and for sharing your advocacy stories with us! However, the fight to protect funding for the arts does not end with the happy resolution of FY18's budget process. Already, the Trump Administration renewed its proposals to eliminate the NEA, NEH, CPB, and IMLS. The co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus, backed by 166 signatures, sent a letter to House Interior Subcommittee leadership urging at least $155 million for the NEA in FY19, and orchestra advocates can reinforce this message, as well as continue the momentum in support of the arts on any number of policy issues with a quick email or social media message to Congress.

Help for Protected Species Permit Rules

Language accompanying the spending bill encourages the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue to work with stakeholders "to address their concerns related to international trade in wood and wood products" with a reference to recent new rosewood rules under the Convention on International Trade in Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES). The report also encourages the agency to develop a domestic electronic permitting system to expedite processing of legal imports and exports. These policy changes could help ease difficulties musicians encounter when traveling with musical instruments. 

Partisan Threat to Nonprofits Averted, For Now

The Johnson Amendment, which protects 501(c)(3) organizations from the dangers of divisive partisan politicking, has remained intact thanks to the unified voice of concern raised by charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations from all 50 states and DC. The parties that wish to repeal the Johnson Amendment attempted to attach what is called a policy rider to the omnibus spending bill, and had they succeeded, the effect would have been the politicization of charitable, religious, and philanthropic organizations. Given that several attempts have been made to remove the Johnson Amendment, it is likely that the fight will continue. A dozen orchestras and the League have signed onto a Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship. Any 501(c)(3) organization is welcome to join the nearly 5,800 organizations expressing strong support for maintaining the Johnson Amendment.