President Trump’s budget blueprint, released on March 16, recommends eliminating the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The Federation of State Humanities Councils vigorously rejects this short-sighted proposal, which would devastate America’s humanities infrastructure.
What’s at Stake?
The NEH is the only federal entity uniquely charged with preserving our nation’s history and cultural heritage, supporting scholarly research and collections, and making humanities resources accessible to current and future generations. NEH also funds the state humanities councils, which extend the reach of the humanities to all 56 states and territories and to nearly every congressional district. By leveraging $5 for every federal dollar they regrant, councils generate millions of dollars for humanities programming that are then invested in local communities across the country. These funds enable councils to reach at-risk and underserved populations, rural communities, veterans, children, teachers, and young adults, among many other groups.
Without NEH support, councils could not continue to offer programming in the rural, urban, and suburban communities by partnering with thousands of local schools, libraries, veterans’ hospitals, senior centers, religious organizations, social service agencies, local businesses, chambers of commerce, state tourism and economic development offices, and local radio and television stations. Eliminating NEH would rob millions of Americans of the on-the-ground cultural, historical, and educational activities that contribute to community vitality, well-being, and economic development. But you can help prevent that loss!
The President’s budget proposal is just that: a proposal. Now it’s up to Congress, where the House and Senate each produce a non-binding budget resolution, setting the overall number for appropriations.
The appropriations process begins with bills developed by the Interior Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate. These bills provide the basis for funding levels for all programs within the agencies, including the NEH, and therefore the development of these bills is a key point in the process. This is where you can have a big impact. (Is your member on the subcommittee?) The FY 2018 appropriations process will continue at least through the end of September 2017, and we will need your help along the way. (Request to subscribe to the Federation Update.) Historically, the NEH and the councils have enjoyed strong bipartisan support from the subcommittees, and the visits councils made in early March to congressional offices in their districts and in Washington, DC helped to ensure that favorable funding decisions made by subcommittee members will be bolstered by their colleagues’ support. (Contact your representative today.)
5 Ways You Can Help
- Contact your local and state congressional members using this action alert.
- Circulate this message to all supporters within your networks.
- Pen a letter to the editor of your local media outlet and share your story about how you or your community has benefited from public humanities programming.
- Use #SavetheNEH on social media.
- Reach out to your state humanities council to find out additional ways to support local efforts in your state.