House of Representatives Votes $10M Increase in NEA Budget

News   House of Representatives Votes $10M Increase in NEA Budget In a switch from its usual downward trajectory, the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts was recently voted a $10 million increase by the House of Representatives.

The added monies were introduced in an amendment sponsored by Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Chris Shays (R-CT), co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus; and Norm Dicks (D-WA), Ranking Minority Member on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.

President George W. Bush set aside $117.48 million for the NEA in the 2004 federal budget, a slight jump from the previous year's $115.73 million.

The extra $10 million is earmarked for the agency's Challenge America initiative, which is designed "to make the arts more widely available in underserved communities across the country."

"We welcome this much-needed, positive development. This vote of confidence in the NEA comes just as state, local, and organizational arts budgets across the country are being slashed," said NEA chairman Dana Gioia in a statement.

The Senate is expected to address the matter shortly.