Date: Wed, 28 Jun 1995 18:30:12 -0400 From: Allan Metcalf Subject: NEH congressional news Keeping an eye on Congress with regard to money for the National Endowment for the Humanities is John Hammer of the National Humanities Alliance. His electronic report follows. (Before presenting the report, I want to express my appreciation for the NEH discussion, both calm and heated, on ADS-L. As humanists and taxpayers, as we go about our business, ADS members in the U.S. can hardly avoid taking NEH into account. Personally, I think it has made useful contributions to Americans' self-understanding, e.g. DARE. But whatever you think, you deserve to be informed about the significant funding decisions coming along.) - Allan Metcalf ******************* Wed, Jun 28, 1995 9:27 AM CDT On the House Appropriations Committee markup for FY-96 appropriations for NEH and the cancellation of the Senate Labor Committee markup. A report from John Hammer and Cuc Vu at the National Humanities Alliance Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the Interior and Related Agencies bill for FY-96 and sent it on toward the floor -- perhaps as early as the week of July 10. In the 6/20/95 subcommittee markup, $50 million was moved from the Biological Survey to the NEH bringing the humanities agency total to just short of $150 million. In a deal worked out in advance of yesterday's full committee markup, the $50 million was moved to Interior Department programs (mostly Bureau of Land Management) and NEH dropped back to $99.5 million. The deal in exchange for the $50 million is a commitment by Ralph Regula, chair of the Interior subcommittee, to seek a protective rule that would block removing money for the endowment because they are not authorized when the bill reaches the floor. If the Rules Committee agrees to the protective rule it will be a substantial step forward in the campaign to retain the endowments. The prospects of the Rules Committee acting favorably are fairly bright because the committee will also be asked to protect the Bureau of Land Management since it is also unauthorized. During the 6/20 subcommittee markup, Jim Kolbe (R-AZ 5th) proposed that 80% of NEH's funds be shifted to the state humanities councils but withdrew the amendment when advised that it would change the legislation and was therefore beyond the scope of an appropriations bill. In the full committee, a revised proposal from Mr. Kolbe to increase funds for the states by $5 million was accepted. That means that the states will be included at $23 million rather than $18 million when the bill goes to the floor. Comment - Last January, it looked as though the NEH campaign was going to have to deal with an appropriations situation in the house in which the endowments would be largely excluded from the process due to a lack of legislative authorization. Against that background, the outcome is good. (If we succeed in getting a significantly higher appropriation on the Senate side we could escape with as little as 20/25% cut. The $50 million addition in the subcommittee had very little to do with NEH. Rather it was the politics of the Endangered Species Act and the Interior Department that drove the move -- While the $50 million would have been nice, success on Rules Committee protection could be more valuable. The move of $5 million to the states is also useful to the overall effort since the $18 million level included in the subcommittee report would be such a sharp cut as to cause some state councils to go out of business. Finally, the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee markup scheduled for today was abruptly cancelled last night. As of this writing, we have not learned why the cancellating occurred. Senate staffers agree that it will be at least two weeks before the markup can be rescheduled. (We had intended to report both House Appropriations and Senate authorization in this memo.)