Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 20:48:46 -0400 From: Allan Metcalf Subject: NEH again - call for action Once again, from the National Humanities alliance; FYI - Allan Metcalf **************************** Fri, Jun 30, 1995 11:22 AM CDT TO: NHA Members FR: John Hammer & Cuc Vu RE: Request for Action on the Campaign to Retain NEH ACTION REQUESTED - Congress's Independence Day break (June 30 through July 9) comes as the pace of Congressional action on appropriations and authorizations for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and its sister agencies the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Institute of Museum Services (IMS) has quickened. Although there may be promising movement on reauthorization of the endowments, appropriations in both houses is the priority for NHA at this juncture. During July, we need to focus on appropriations in the House and the Senate. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - The Appropriations Committee is recommending $99.5 million for NEH (a 42% cut), $99.5 million for NEA (a 39% cut), and $21 million for IMS (a 25% cut). These are not great numbers but do represent an enormous improvement over the 100% cuts favored by the GOP leaders. While increases in these sums would be highly desirable, there is virtually unanimous agreement among our friends inside and outside Congress that an amendment to increase these budgets would be assured of defeat on the House floor and, more importantly, such a defeat would be damaging to our cause in a conference and to our prospects for House support in a post conference vote. While amendments to increase are discouraged and unlikely, there almost certainly will be amendments offered to either cut more deeply or simply cut off funding for the endowments. Therefore we urge that the following message be delivered BY CONSTITUENTS to the members of the House: Please support the Appropriations Committee's recommendations for FY-96 budgets for NEH, NEA, and IMS. Please stand firm against amendments that would further lower the funding recommended for these agencies. SENATE - Now that the House Appropriations Committee has sent a FY-96 Interior Appropriations bill forward toward the floor, the Senate counterpart is beginning to prepare for action. Challenges for NEH supporters include: The subcommittee chair, Slade Gorton (R-WA), has not warmed up to the endowments, and the Budget Committee recommendations are for continuation of the endowments but with only 50% funding. While the appropriators are not obliged to follow the Budget Committee, the recommendation is influential. Because the House funding level will be at 42% below present funding (or worse), it is especially important that the Senate come forward with appropriation levels as close as possible to the present budget levels ($177 million for NEH, $176.4 million for NEA, and $28.7 million for IMS). Therefore, we are asking that constituents of all Senators (except, of course, Senator Gorton) convey the following message: Please urge Senator Gorton to include the endowments in the FY-96 Interior Appropriations at a level as close to current funding as possible. (Note: It is important to indicate that you recognize that Congress is involved in an historic review of federal programs and that the endowments must take their cuts along with the other federal program, but not disproportionately.) For those who care to do so, in communicating with Senators and their staff, it would also be useful to mention that although the committee has not completed its work, reports of the Jeffords bill indicate that it is a very positive approach to reauthorizing the endowments. Other information and caveats - o During the July 4th break, many members are back in their states or districts. Whether or not the legislators are available, contacts with the home offices can be very effective. NHA can provide telephone numbers and addresses upon request. o Be restrained in using FAX machines -- Many legislators are touchy about receiving lobbying messages by FAX because they complain that the machines become clogged and these messages prevent needed information from getting through. At NHA, we often telephone to make sure information by FAX would be welcome. o Do use the telephone, personal visits, and increasingly Internet. Not all congressional offices have e-mail but the number is rapidly growing. o Please send NHA copies of letters sent on NEH issues. Also please send us copies of responses received from legislators as they are often useful in determining whether a legislator is moveable on an issue. o Regarding the arts endowment and IMS -- The NHA board has established a policy that the alliance actively seeks to retain NEH, NEA, and IMS as viable national resources. NHA has very profitably collaborated with arts organizations and supporters of other cultural agencies over the years. NHA members and their individual members are encouraged to call for support of all three but the board recognizes that some members may prefer to focus exclusively on the NEH. Cuc Vu National Humanities Alliance 21 Dupont Circle, N.W. Suite 800 Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 296-4994 Internet: cuc[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]