Friday, July 26, 2019

As you may have seen in this week's headlines, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a two-year budget agreement that will pave the way for federal appropriations bills to be completed later this fall. Without this budget agreement in place, it was unlikely we'd see any of the $12.5 million increase included in a House bill for the National Endowment for the Arts, or the $6 million increase for arts education.

In addition, there's even more good news. Following a year of strategic lobbying, Americans for the Arts can now confirm the following additional appropriations items have been approved by the House:

  • The Defense Department appropriations bill includes language, for the first time, to increase support for creative arts therapists to treat servicemembers with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and psychological health conditions. Click here to tell your Senators to support this groundbreaking provision for servicemembers and their families.
  • The Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, also for the first time, dedicates $5 million to treat veterans with TBI and psychological health conditions through their Whole Health Initiative. Take two minutes now to tell your Senators to support this provision to increase VA creative arts therapy programs.
  • The Justice Department appropriations bill calls on the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention to include arts-based juvenile justice programs among its strategies. Ask your Senators to increase arts interventions in juvenile justice programs. 

On Thursday, July 25, the U.S. House debated the two year budget and debt ceiling deal, which could have major implications for increased support for arts programs.

Americans for the Arts is working every day to ensure that federal lawmakers understand that the arts impact these policy areas in communities across nation. As Congress reaches their summer recess, we are pursuing more pro-arts legislative provisions than ever before. This diverse policy agenda is made possible by an active Congressional Arts Caucus and Senate Cultural Caucus, a growing coalition of pro-arts organizations, and motivated grassroots advocates in every state

But none of these advances will be realized unless the Senate concurs with the House provisions. As the appropriations process shifts to the U.S. Senate this summer and fall, take two minutes now to contact your U.S. Senators to urge them to appropriate additional funding for these important arts programs. Click the links below to get started!