Date: Wed, 2 Aug 1995 10:11:15 -0400

From: Allan Metcalf AAllan[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: NEH update (medium length)

Here again, from our inside track in Washington, are the latest developments

in funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities. - Allan Metcalf


August 31, 1995

TO: NHA Members and Friends

FR: John Hammer and Cuc Vu

RE: Washington News Update: Senate Completes FY96 Appropriations

Markup on NEH



During the week of July 24, the Senate proceeded with actions in

connection with the NEH through the Interior Appropriations and

full Appropriations markups. The following is a summary of the



Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA), the subcommittee's chair, followed

the House mark and recommended putting $99.5 million into both NEH

and NEA for FY96. Mr. Gorton's mark is consistent with the

remarks he made earlier during the Labor Committee's markup of an

NEA/NEH reauthorization bill. During the Labor markup, Mr. Gorton

explained that cultural programs constitute approximately 6

percent of the interior budget and said that the Labor Committee's

proposed 5 percent cuts next year are "totally unrealistic." He

also added that he (as chairman of the Interior Appropriations

Subcommittee) would not reduce those cultural institutions for

which the government has sole responsibility such as the

Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.

NEH, however, got a boost when Senator Dale Bumpers (D-AR)

successfully maneuvered a $15 million increase. However, it is

not clear whether the Bumpers amendment will hold on the Senate

floor; the energy program from which the offset came has many

champions in the Senate and may be restored, which may put NEH

back at the original $99.5 million mark.

Mr. Bumpers was not able to do the same for NEA, and sadly noted

that he would have liked to have done at least the same or more

for NEA. The votes simply were not there.

An important factor in NEH's win was the support of Senator Thad

Cochran (R-MS), who carries significant influence with his GOP



Last Friday, July 28 the Senate Committee on Appropriations marked

up all interior programs for FY96 and approved $114.5 million for

the humanities endowment (representing a 34% reduction from

current levels), while keeping the arts endowment at $99.5

million. The different figures may reflect the increasing

distinction being drawn between NEH and NEA among many members of


The highlights of the committee's proceedings included amendments

from Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Robert Bennett (R-UT), and

Daniel Inouye (D-HI) in connection to NEH.

LEAHY-BENNETT AMENDMENT. Mr. Leahy and Mr. Bennett proposed to

transfer $25 million from the Naval Petroleum Oil Reserve to the

endowments--Mr. Gorton added $50 million to the Reserve in the

Interior Subcommittee markup. Of the proposed $25 million, Leahy

and Bennett wanted to put $5 million into NEH and the remaining

$20 million into NEA to bring it up to parity with NEH.

The Leahy-Bennett amendment failed by a vote of 14-13, with

Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV), Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC), J. Bennett

Johnston (D-LA), Mark Hatfield (R-OR), Ted Stevens (R-OR), Thad

Cochran (R-MS), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Phil Gramm (R-TX),

Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO), Slade Gorton (R-WA), Connie Mack

(R-FL), Conrad Burns (R-MT), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Judd Gregg

(R-NH) voting against the amendment. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-

KY) did not vote. Three Republicans--Senators James Jeffords (R-

VT), who has been critical in the reauthorization process, Arlen

Specter (R-PA), and Robert Bennett (R-UT)--joined with the

remaining Democrats in support of the endowments. The vote from

Mr. Hatfield was noted among observers, who mistakenly thought

Mr. Hatfield would vote in favor of the endowments. Mr. Hatfield

explained that he could not go against the recommendation of his

colleague, Mr. Gorton, who as the chair of the subcommittee with

oversight over the endowments suggested marking only $99.5 million

for each endowment.

The narrow margin of defeat is an encouragement to arts and

humanities advocates, since some of the endowments's staunchest

critics such as Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) sit on the committee.

Mr. Leahy plans to introduce an amendment to the full Senate,

where arts and humanities advocates hope to capture enough

moderate GOP votes to tilt the balance in favor of giving the

endowments a modest increase. At this time, it is not certain

whether Mr. Bennett will again join with Mr. Leahy in a bipartisan

effort. Communications from Mr. Leahy's office indicate that a

bipartisan collaboration is likely.

INOUYE AMENDMENT. Senator Harry Reid showed himself to be a great

friend when he rescued NEH from Senator Daniel Inouye's (D-HI)

proposal to transfer $19 million from NEH to the American Indian

Museum. Mr. Reid suggested that Mr. Inouye take $15 million from

the Naval Petroleum Oil Reserve instead. The committee passed Mr.

Inouye's amendment with Mr. Reid's suggestions.


The Appropriations Committee filed its final report (S. 104-25) on

Monday, July 31, which means that the bill is technically ready to

go to the floor. Staff estimates vary as to whether the bill will

reach the floor before the August 11 break.


National Humanities Alliance

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