As they gear up for a bruising budget battle, House Republicans have outlined a plan that would eliminate government support for a range of programs that benefit the arts and humanities, the Los Angeles Times reports. The plan also contains large cuts to national service and international aid programs, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.
With Congress returning to work after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and nineteen others outside a Safeway supermarket in Tucson, nonprofit lobbyists must come to grips with a bloc of House conservatives known as the Republican Study Committee that has proposed eliminating the national endowments for the arts and humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AmeriCorps, and the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of an effort to cut $2.5 trillion in federal spending over the next ten years. The Republican leadership in the House has yet to sign on to the plan, proposing less drastic cuts to these and other programs, but few doubt that the RSC will pressure leadership to stick by their promise to significantly reduce the size of government.
According to the Times, federal arts and culture spending currently is about $1.6 billion a year, including $167 million each for the NEA and NEH and $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The proposed legislation does not call for cuts to the annual budgets of the Smithsonian Institution ($761.4 million), the Institute of Museum and Library Services ($282.3 million), the National Gallery of Art ($167 million), or the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (about $20 million).
A worried Robert Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts, told the Times that arts supporters "are cognizant of the attitudes out there among some leaders, and we have to do a good job of education."