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<< Return to SBL Forum Archive Congress Increases Humanities Funding

Supporters succeeded this week in gaining House approval to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The House of Representatives passed the FY 2005 Interior and Related Agencies spending bill (H.R. 4568) last night with a $6.5 million increase for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), for a funding level of $141.8 million. An increase of $10 million was approved for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), for a FY 2005 budget of $131 million.

The Interior bill was reported out of committee on June 9 with a modest increase for the NEH of $3 million and a recommendation of level funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The full House began consideration of the bill on Wednesday, June 16.

The Congressional Arts Caucus offered an amendment Wednesday afternoon to fund an additional $3.5 million for the NEH "We the People" initiative, and an additional $10 million for the NEA "American Masterpieces" program. The amendment passed Wednesday evening by a vote of 241 to 185 (see roll call vote no. 248). Yes votes included 48 Republicans, 192 Democrats, and 1 Independent. The Noes included 178 Republicans and 7 Democrats. A similar vote last year won by a smaller margin of 225 to 200. This year's amendment picked up the votes of an additional 13 Republicans and 3 Democrats.

The Congressional Arts Caucus Amendment was sponsored by Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Chris Shays (R-CT), Norm Dicks (D-WA), and Jim Leach (R-IA). Not only did this vote demonstrate strong bipartisan support for the NEH and NEA, but members rising to speak on behalf of the agencies underscored the importance of their missions to the American public.

In addition to the amendment sponsors, members speaking in support of the measure included:

  • Robert Andrews (D-NJ)
  • Cass Ballenger (R-NC)
  • Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
  • Danny Davis (D-IL)
  • Rush Holt (D-NJ)
  • Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
  • Barbara Lee (D-CA)
  • Nita Lowey (D-NY)
  • Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
  • Karen McCarthy (D-MO)
  • Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
  • Jack Quinn (R-NY)
  • Adam Schiff (D-CA)

The Interior bill now moves to the Senate, which is expected to mark up its version of the legislation before the July 4 recess.


Citation: , " Congress Increases Humanities Funding," SBL Forum , n.p. [cited June 2004]. Online:


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