Thursday, September 8, 2016

Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Walter Jones (R-NC) led a bipartisan letter in support of the military bands of the United States Armed Forces. Americans for the Arts endorsed the letter, along with 19 organizations.

Earlier this year during House consideration of the FY17 Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 5293), Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) secured language to limit the Defense Department from having military bands perform in an official capacity for certain entertainment purposes that support our troops, their families, and our communities. Americans for the Arts opposed the amendment. No similar provision is included in the Senate version, which has yet to pass the Senate.

As conference work on FY17 appropriations begins, Reps. Hastings and Jones are leading congressional efforts in support of removing language in any final FY17 Defense Appropriations bill that would preclude military bands of the U.S. Armed Forces from continuing to serve our nation.

Military bands increase understanding, foster a deep appreciation of the rich history and legacy of our services, while bridging and uniting cultural, societal, and socio-economic differences through music. These bands are important to the morale of our service members and their families, and are possibly the very best ambassadors from the military to the civilian world. They are supported by the Defense Department and the military branches, including the communities they serve. For instance, Mark Wright, Pentagon spokesman has said that these bands "facilitate the accomplishment of national objectives at home, overseas and in an expeditionary environment.” Read more in Rep. Hastings' press release.