House-Senate Conferees Give National Endowment for the Arts Additional $6.7 Million
Funding comes in 2004 Interior Appropriations bill
October 28, 2003
Washington, D.C. -- Members of the House-Senate conference committee who've been negotiating the 2004 Interior Appropriations bill agreed last night to increase the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts by nearly seven million dollars. This raises the budget for the nation's leading annual funder of the arts to $122.5 million.
"This special budget increase marks a new era at the NEA," said Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. "Congress's action was not merely a budget vote. It was a vote of confidence in the value and the vision of the agency."
The funding will support the agency's Challenge America initiative, which is designed to make the arts more widely available in underserved communities across the country. Extending the reach of the Arts Endowment to such communities has been a priority for Chairman Gioia.
"These new funds will be invested across all fifty states," added Chairman Gioia. "We will both support local arts groups as well as expand our national Shakespeare and Jazz Masters programs to reach more schools and communities."
The increase stems from a bipartisan amendment passed by the House, which initially provided a $10-million increase for the Arts Endowment, in addition to President George W. Bush's FY 2004 budget request of $117.480 million. The Slaughter-Shays-Dicks-Leach amendment was sponsored by Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Chris Shays (R-CT), co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus, Norm Dicks (D-WA), Ranking Minority Member on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and Jim Leach (R-IA). The conference committee reconciled the House and Senate bills last night.
This latest Congressional action comes just weeks after passage of the 2004 Defense Appropriations bill that included a $1-million earmark for the National Endowment for the Arts to bring its Shakespeare in American Communities program to U.S. military bases.
The conference report on the 2004 Interior Appropriations bill, which can no longer be amended, is expected to be voted on by both chambers this week.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency