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
NEH FARES A LITTLE BETTER THAN NEA IN SENATE
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
SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERIOR APPROPRIATIONS
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
SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
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
21 Dupont Circle, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Internet: nhainfo[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]cni.org