This Week on the Hill – May 17

May 17, 2019


House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee

The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has marked up the FY 2020 appropriations bill, which includes $167.5 million for the NEH, the level the humanities community has advocated for throughout the spring.  This figure, which is also the funding level allocated to NEA, represents an increase of $12.5 million above the FY 2019 funding level for each of the agencies.  The total figure for all the programs in the bill is $37.28 billion, an increase of $1.73 billion over the FY 2019 level.

In her statement on the release of the draft bill, Subcommittee Committee Chair Betty McCollum said, “This legislation represents a shift in priorities.  With Democrats at the helm, we’re now investing in our public lands, the environment, and the needs of people and communities across the country—including in areas that have been ignored or severely underfunded in years past….Science matters. Addressing climate change matters.  Protecting our cultural and natural heritage matters too.  The American people can count on us to make the investments important in their daily lives—not only today but for tomorrow.”

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, also stated that the bills drafted so far by the Democratic majority subcommittees “break with the senseless austerity of recent years in favor of robust funding for initiatives that truly make a difference in the lives of working families.” She cited increases for a number of programs in the EPA budget and added, “This bill also increases funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Heritage Partnership Program.  These programs strengthen our country by enabling Americans of all ages to study the arts, culture, and history of our nation.”

Other agencies receiving increases in the bill included the National Park Service, increased by $168 million for a recommended FY 2020 total of $3.39 billion, and the Smithsonian Institution, up by $28 million to a total of $1.07 billion.  Internal details of the budgets for NEH and other programs in the Interior bill will not be available until the full committee markup, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, May 22.

Other Appropriations Activity

Both the Energy & Water and the Commerce/Justice/Science subcommittees also marked up their FY 2020 bill this week, which will be sent to the full Appropriations Committee for action next week.  The State/Foreign Operations bill was approved by the Appropriations Committee on Thursday, May 16.

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