Date: Fri, 18 Aug 1995 10:34:49 -0400 From: Allan Metcalf Subject: NEH funding update (another long one) Here follows another thorough report from our associates at the National Humanities Alliance in Washington. For our field, in the US, the NEH is of high importance; but I don't like loading ADS-L mailboxes every week with material that not everyone finds relevant. So - I propose the following: If you would like to continue getting all the NEH Washington news, send me a message to that effect. I'll construct an NEH mailing list, and send future news items just to those on that list. OK? - Allan Metcalf ******************************** 18 August 1995 TO: NHA Members and Friends FR: John Hammer and Cuc Vu RE: Washington News Memo - 1) Senate votes $110 million for NEH 2) Appropriations Conference next 3) Hutchison-Bennett Bill Calls for Restructured Single Endowment 1) Senate votes parity for endowments at $110 million - On August 9, by voice vote, the Senate amended its Appropriation Committee recommendation for the FY-96 Interior Appropriations bill by increasing the arts endowment by $10.5 million and decreasing the humanities endowment by $4.5 million, leaving both agencies at $110 million (approximately 35% below the current year appropriations). The Institute of Museum Services was left unchanged at $21 million . The amendment was initiated by Senators James Jeffords (R-VT) with cosponsorship by Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Dale Bumpers (D-AR), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL), Claiborne Pell (D-RI), and Alan Simpson (R-WY). Importantly, the Senate bill does not include language phasing out the endowments. The outcome of lowering NEH's allocation to accommodate NEA, as far as one can tell, was not anti-NEH but rather reflected the great difficulty in finding offsets (i.e., other Interior budget lines to raid). Senator Jeffords, who authored the amendment, initially sought to bring both agencies to $115 million but could not find offsets that would be acceptable to other members whose votes he needed. Some Senate staffers suggest that a factor in arriving at parity but at the lower number was the dismay of the Subcommittee chair and floor manager, Sen. Slade Gorton (R-WA), who had only reluctantly agreed to bring the endowments in at the $99.5 million figure voted by the House. Mr. Gorton said in the subcommittee markup that he did not see NEH and NEA as having the importance among federal cultural agencies as the Smithsonian, National Gallery, and Holocaust Museum -- The latter agencies were marked for very close to even funding, whereas the endowments were marked for cuts in the 40% range. As part of the deal on the amendment, Mr. Gorton pledged on the Senate floor to vigorously uphold the budget levels contained in the amendment during the conference with the House. One troublesome aspect of the amendment passed by the Senate is the inclusion of language restricting content of arts endowment grants (but not NEH grants) brought forward by Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC). The restrictive language, which is vintage Helms, prohibits "support for projects to promote, disseminate, sponsor or produce materials or performances" which a) "denigrate the objects or beliefs of adherents of a particular religion"; and b) "depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual or excretory activities or organs." Senate staffers indicate that Senator Jeffords and his co-sponsors accepted the language out of concern that they lacked the votes to pass the amendment without Helms. The effect of adding the Helms language on the votes of conservatives was clear (i.e., there were no nays spoken). The decision to pass the amendment on a voice vote rather than by roll call is likely to simplify the work of conferees in September as the Helms language will be easier to alter or set aside with no record of how individual Senators voted. While many believe the restrictive language eventually would be found unconstitutional should it become law, a major concern is that the issue will deflect conferees from resolving the far more pressing issue of the House-passed provision that terminates the NEA in two years and NEH in three. As noted above, the Senate bill does not contain language phasing out the agencies (although Senator John McCain [R-AZ] mentioned on the floor the night before the endowments came under discussion, that he was going to propose a provision that NEA could not use FY-96 funds without formal reauthorization -- McCain however, did not offer the amendment when the time came). Some have suggested that the Helms language could be used as a bargaining chip in the effort to delete the phasing out language. 2) Interior Appropriations Conference Likely in September - A conference to iron out differences between the House and Senate Interior appropriations bills will be held in September although neither chamber has appointed conferees. Since conferences on appropriations (and most other legislative areas) are composed of the members of the relevant subcommittee plus full committee leaders, the Interior conference is likely to have the following makeup: HOUSE - The Key players: Ralph Regula (R-OH) subcommittee chair, Bob Livingston (R-LA) committee chair and ex officio member of the subcommittee, Sidney Yates (D-IL) ranking minority member of the subcommittee, and David Obey (D-WI) ranking minority member of the full committee and ex officio member of the subcommittee. Senate - The Key players: Slade Gorton (R-WA) subcommittee chair, Mark Hatfield (R-OR) committee chair who is also a member of the subcommittee, Robert Byrd (D-WV) ranking minority member of both the subcommittee and full committee. Other members of the conference (in order of seniority on the subcommittees) - House/MAJORITY: Joseph McDade (R-PA), Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Joe Skeen (R-NM), Barbara Vucanovich (R-NV), Charles Taylor (R-NC), George Nethercutt (R-WA), Jim Bunn (R-OR) /MINORITY Norm Dicks (D-WA), Tom Bevill (D-AL), David Skaggs (D-CO) - Senate/MAJORITY: Ted Stevens (R-AK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Connie Mack (R-FL), Conrad Burns (R-MT), Robert Bennett (R-UT), /MINORITY Ernest Hollings (D-SC), J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Dale Bumpers (D-AR), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Patty Murray (D-WA). An address and contact list of the probable House-Senate conferees is attached. The agenda for conferences such as the FY-96 interior bills are generally restricted to points of difference between the two chambers' bills. The key conference issues affecting NEH will include: o Appropriation levels for NEH and NEA -- Both received $99.5 million in the House and $110 million in the Senate. There is a long tradition of simply splitting the difference but other outcomes are very possible. (Since IMS is the same in both bills, it will not be "conferenced" as we say in Washington.) o "Authorization" - Both appropriations committee acted upon committee-passed authorization bills that lacked the weight of a full floor vote. In the case of the Senate (where there never was much enthusiasm for the claim that funds cannot be appropriated without formal authorization), the appropriation is nowhere near the authorized funding levels of the Jeffords bill, which are $160 for NEH and $152 for NEA). The House is more complicated since the authorizing committee bill calls for the phasing out of both endowments in three years. In the fight over the protective rule governing House debate (i.e., the rule that said agencies or programs could not be removed from the budget simply because they were not authorized), NEA ended up with a special provision requiring that the House must pass a reauthorization bill before the arts agency can spend FY-96 funds. This provision may well dominate the conference negotiations on the cultural agencies; perhaps it will dominate the whole conference. Mr. Regula must negotiate on the basis of rather frenetic House debate in which the House conferees were instructed to closely adhere to the provisions as passed by the House. Some in the Senate delegation were quite annoyed at the House presumption on what the Senate must accept. o Content restrictions - Although the Helms language applies only to NEA, it could prove to be a stumbling block to agreement on the other cultural agency issues. Some hill staffers are predicting that, unlike the recent past, the Helms language will be set aside with little fanfare. 3) Hutchison-Bennett Bill Would Create a Single Endowment from NEH, NEA, and IMS - Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Robert Bennett (R-UT) have proposed a National Endowment Restructuring Act of 1995 (S. 1071) which would collapse the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum Services into a single agency called the National Endowment for Arts, Humanities, and Museum Services. Features proposed for the new entity that differ markedly from the current legislation and/or the Jeffords bill (S. 856) that was approved by committee in June include: o National grants would be restricted to "nationally prominent groups, institutions, scholars to carry out nationally significant projects and workshops in humanities, publications, literacy, research a) providing fellowships, scholarships, and stipends to carry out programs of national significance in humanities; and b) producing significant publications in humanities." o Support would go to "local groups of clearly recognized value to support locally significant humanities projects identified by [the national] council as being of state or community importance." o A director would be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Director makes final decisions on awards with council advice but may not overrule a negative council recommendation. (Note: Since 1990, this constraint has been in affect for the NEA but not the NEH). o Deputy directors for arts, humanities, and museum services would direct processing of applications and presentation to the council (i.e., unless the director comes from the humanities, final decisions in humanities areas would rest with a director who may have little or no experience with scholarship and other humanities programming). o Federal share requirements - In general, endowment share is 25%; for groups with annual budgets $3 million or more, the federal share would be 16.67%; Director may increase the federal share to 50% with the approval of the council. o State grants - Although the legislation does not mention this, a cover letter from Hutchison and Bennett call for sending 60% of the funds to the states. The legislation maintains a framework for state councils but, curiously, only provides for such agencies if they are components of state government. (State arts councils are state agencies, while state humanities councils are private 501(c)(3) organizations.) o A National Council on Arts, Humanities, and Museum Services would be composed of the director and 18 members appointed by the President with advice and consent of the Senate. Six would be nominated by the House, six nominated by the Senate, and six nominated by the President. The qualifications to serve are similar to present requirements. o The annual authorized appropriation would be $370 million for each of fiscal years 1996 through 2000. Somewhat inconsistently with other provisions of the legislation, the legislation would: o Prohibit grants to individuals except to nationally prominent scholars; and o Prohibit subgrants (and seasonal support) Comment: The Hutchison-Bennett bill was developed in good faith, primarily by Senator Hutchison's staff, in order to provide an alternative in the event that the Jeffords reauthorization bill fails to win passage. The concept of a single unified endowment with its support restricted to nationally, prominent groups with more than half the funds going to the states is essentially proposal advanced by Leonard Garment as a way out of the on-going problems of the arts endowment. From a humanities point of view, the entire proposal seems to have been developed with NEA and its problems in mind. Consequently, in many areas (e.g., individual fellowships, state humanities councils), the new arrangement would be unresponsive to the needs in the humanities. On the other hand, there would probably be unqualified support in the arts and humanities community for grafting the authorized appropriation level of $370 million for NEH, NEA, IMS onto the Jeffords legislation. _________________________ ATTACHMENT - ATTACHMENT - ATTACHMENT - ATTACHMENT - ATTACHMENT NAME LOCATION TELEPHONE STAFF ON NEH ISSUES House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee ___Majority Members_(9)___ Ralph Regula (OH-16), Chair 2309 RHOB 225-3876 Barbara Wainman Chair Joseph McDade (PA-10) 2107 RHOB 225-3731 Teresa Baker Jim Kolbe (AZ-5) 205 CHOB 225-2542 Steve Bloch Joe Skeen (NM-2) 2367 RHOB 225-2365 John Ryan Barbara Vucanovich (NV-2) 2202 RHOB 225-6155 Mort Rolleston Charles Taylor (NC-11) 231 CHOB 225-6401 Caroline Choi George Nethercutt (WA-5) 1527 LHOB 225-2006 Amy Flachbart Jim Bunn (OR-5) 1517 LHOB 225-5711 David Reinhardt Bob Livingston (LA-1) 2406 RHOB 225-3015 Stan Skocki ex officio ___Minority Members_(5)___ Sidney Yates (IL-9), RM 2109 RHOB 225-2111 Mary Bain Jason Alderman Norm Dicks (WA-6) 2467 RHOB 225-5916 Mike Bagley Tom Bevill (AL-4) 2302 RHOB 225-4876 Olivia Barton David Skaggs (CO-2) 1124 LHOB 225-2161 Brooke Anderson David Obey (WI-7) 2462 RHOB 225-3365 Christina Hamilton ex officio Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee ___Majority Members_(8)___ Slade Gorton (WA), Chair 730 HSOB 224-3441 Elaine Wells Harmer Mark Hatfield (OR)* 711 HSOB 224-3753 Heather Sack Ted Stevens (AK) 522 HSOB 224-3004 Jane Rosenquist Thad Cochran (MS) 326 RSOB 224-5054 Greg McGinity Pete Domenici (NM) 328 DSOB 224-6621 Brian Jones Connie Mack (FL) 517 HSOB 224-5274 Jamie Brown Conrad Burns (MT) 183 DSOB 224-2644 Patty Deutsche Robert Bennett (UT) 427 DSOB 224-5444 Corine Larson ___Minority Members_(7)___ Robert Byrd (WV), RM* 311 HSOB 224-3954 Sue Masica Ernest Hollings (SC) 125 RSOB 224-6121 Pinara Black J. Bennett Johnston (LA) 136 HSOB 224-5824 Donna Denison Patrick J. Leahy (VT) 433 RSOB 224-4242 Maggie Whitney Dale Bumpers (AR) 229 DSOB 224-4843 Kira Finkler Harry Reid (NV) 324 HSOB 224-3542 Sue Maybry Patty Murray (WA) 111 RSOB 224-2621 Helen Howell RHOB=Rayburn House Office Building LHOB=Longworth House Office Building CHOB=Cannon House Office Building RSOB=Russell Senate Office Building DSOB=Dirksen Senate Office Building HSOB=Hart Senate Office Building RM=Ranking Minority All phone numbers are in the (202) area code All House zip codes are 20515 All Senate zip codes are 20510 *Mr. Hatfield is the Chair and Mr. Byrd is the Ranking Minority of the full Senate Appropriations Committee. -- National Humanities Alliance 21 Dupont Circle, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 296-2994 Internet: nhainfo[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]