Congress Approves Budget Increase for Arts and Humanities Endowments

by Robin Pogrebin
The New York Times
October 30, 2009

Update | 3:27 p.m. The House and Senate on Thursday passed a budget increase for the National Endowment for the Arts and for the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Interior Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2010 sets budgets for each agency at $167.5 million, up $12.5 million from last year. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law shortly. The funding comes as Rocco Landesman, the new chairman of the N.E.A., prepares to start a nationwide “Art Works” tour next week. “It’s never enough,” Mr. Landesman said. “But we’re looking for progress at a time when every dollar is precious. For us to get a notable increase is extremely heartening.”

The N.E.A. is currently funded at $155 million, and the White House had requested an increase to $161 million. The agency received an additional $50 million through the stimulus bill. This summer, the House approved $170 million for the arts endowment, while the Senate proposed $161.3 million. The final budget was decided in conference this week and passed by a vote of 247-178 in the House and 72-28 in the Senate.

“This important budget increase recognizes the essential role the arts play in our lives, schools, and communities,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and chief of Americans for the Arts, an advocacy group, in a statement.

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