Pursuant to House Resolution 363 and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration of the bill,
Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration of the bill (H.R. 2584) making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes, with Mr. Paulsen (Acting Chair) in the chair.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The Acting CHAIR. When the Committee of the Whole rose earlier today, an amendment offered by the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Walberg) is pending, and the bill had been read through page 105, line 13.
Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from New York is recognized for 5 minutes.
The National Endowment for the Arts has a 40-year history of investing in communities across the country to expand access to the arts. The NEA has awarded 2,400 grants, spanning communities in all 435 congressional districts.
The proposed cuts to the NEA would have a crippling effect on a program that has been proven to work. Often when I talk about the arts and how I feel about them, I always say how thankful I am to be able to work in an art building that is a masterpiece, but I'm going to be practical tonight. All we're interested in is money, and that's what I'm going to talk about. I hope that people will pay attention to what we get for that little bit of money.
In FY 2010, the Federal Government invested $167.5 million in the NEA for the purpose of providing funding to nonprofit arts organizations. That funding created $166.2 billion in total economic activity, supported 5.7 million jobs, and--listen to this one--generated to the U.S. Treasury $12.6 billion in tax revenue. That does not include the State tax revenue or the local tax revenue. So we spent $167 million and got back $12.6 billion.
I defy anybody in here to tell us that we get that kind of return on any money we spend here. I wish we could find more ways to multiply our money by such a magnitude while enhancing the public good at the same time. Investment opportunities like these are few and far between, and we should be expanding our investment in such a successful program, not cutting its funding to the bone.
I am the proud co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, a group that has supported the NEA for almost 30 years. The Arts Caucus is composed of 186 dedicated, bipartisan Members who are committed to the growth and the success of the arts. Why? Because the arts make a difference.
The NEA reached its peak level of funding in fiscal year 1992, but it has never fully recovered from a 40 percent cut in fiscal year 1996 when, once again, people mischaracterized the work of the NEA. We have seen progress with increasing NEA funding since fiscal year 2008, but just last year, the NEA was forced to deal with a crippling cut again to its annual budget. If this year's appropriations bill takes effect, the NEA will have had its budget cut by 20 percent in just the last few months. These cuts are not sustainable and do great harm to the success of the arts sector across the country.
There is widespread national support for the NEA and the arts, including from companies like Westinghouse and Bravo. Actually, what really happened so much for us that was so good was when Bravo and Westinghouse particularly said they would rather hire people who had backgrounds in art because of what they were able to do--their innovation and using both sides of the brain. Bravo was wonderful, advertising all the time how important arts are to the children in this country. The bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors made art a priority in their 10-point plan, saying Federal resources must also be invested in nonprofit arts organizations through their local arts agencies with the full funding of the Federal arts and cultural agencies.
In addition, I have a letter from 26 national art organizations urging Congress to prevent any further reduction to the investment in our Nation's arts and culture infrastructure, which I would like to submit for the Record.
The simple truth is that funding of the arts creates jobs. There are 756,007 arts-related businesses in the United States that employ 3 million people. In my district, there are 1,229 arts-related businesses that employ 15,864 people. And remember what's already been said so well by Mr. Simpson is that this is seed money from the National Endowment of the Arts which brings in other money--public money, private money--which is terribly important to make these programs survive. And these programs, as I've already pointed out, are an economic gold mine. They employ creative workforce, they spend money locally, they generate government revenue, and are a cornerstone of tourism and economic development.
Along with creating and supporting jobs, the arts provide job skills to our Nation's youth--this is very important to understand--that are marketable to the innovative companies that drive our economy and push America to the forefront in the global marketplace. I've already mentioned Westinghouse, but there are many more.
Exposure to the arts fosters learning, discovery, and achievement in our country. This is, again, simply a fact. Research has proven participation in arts education programs stimulate the creative, holistic, subjective, and intuitive portions of the human brain.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman from New York has expired.
(By unanimous consent, Ms. Slaughter was allowed to proceed for 2 additional minutes.)
For example, from what we've been told by the University of California-Davis, the only doctors who really understand what they hear in a stethoscope are those who have studied music. High school music students score 102 points higher on the SATs than their peers. Students with 4 years of art in high school obtain 57 points more on their SAT.
So we're making an investment in our students and our future.
But they play other important roles elsewhere in the economy.
Businesses are attracted to communities with a strong arts sector. And we see that everywhere there is art in existence, the presence of the arts can revitalize rural areas, inner cities and areas struggling with poverty. Cultural tourism brings in $192 billion every year to the U.S. economy.
Listen to those figures. I hope to goodness everybody is as impressed as I am.
Furthermore, American arts are an important export for our country, bringing in $30 billion more every year.
One statistic that I found particularly telling is that in 2010, the attendance at three New York museums--the Met, MoMA, and the Guggenheim--exceeded the attendance of all of the New York professional sports teams, all of them combined, by over 300,000 visits. People are interested in arts due in part to the NEA, and they come again and again and bring their families.
Along with all of this is a great intrinsic value that we know. I really must say that a lot of people think that art is not important, and they don't think about it or what it does to the human spirit. Art in so many ways tells us who we were, who we are, and who we hope to be. And if you think you're not affected by it, tell me what happens to you when you hear ``Taps,'' ``Amazing Grace,'' ``America the Beautiful,'' and the stirring that it gives in your whole person and makes you want to be better than you are.
Please, please don't decimate this program in which we invest so little but get back so very much.
Dear Representative, as the FY12 Interior Appropriations bill comes to the floor for consideration by the full House, we write to urge you to prevent further cuts to funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The direct federal investment in the artistic capacity of our nation supports thousands of jobs, strengthens communities, improves lifelong learning, and boosts this country's international competitive advantage. Every U.S. Congressional district benefits from an NEA grant, leveraging additional support from a diverse range of private sources to combine funding from government, business, foundation, and individual donors. The NEA awarded almost 2,400 grants in those districts in FY 2010. The NEA has provided strategic leadership and investment in the arts for more than 40 years. Americans can now see professional productions and exhibitions of high quality in their own hometowns. Among the proudest accomplishments of the NEA is the growth of arts activity in areas of the nation that were previously underserved or not served at all, especially in rural and inner-city communities. Nationally, there are 668,267 businesses in the United States involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 2.9 million people including visual artists, performing artists, managers, marketers, technicians, teachers, designers, carpenters, and workers in a wide variety of trades and professions. By direct grants and through allocations to each state, NEA dollars are distributed widely to strengthen the arts infrastructure and ensure broad access to the arts for communities across the country. The NEA funds school-based and community-based programs that help children and youth acquire knowledge and understanding of, and skills in, the arts. The NEA also supports educational programs for adults, collaborations between state arts agencies and state education agencies, and partnerships between arts institutions and educators. We understand fully the shared sacrifice that we all must make in order to help get our Nation's fiscal house in order. But funding for the National Endowment for the Arts was already reduced by $12.5 million in FY11, and the FY12 Interior bill currently includes an additional $20 million in funding cuts. We urge you to prevent any further reduction to the investment in our nation's arts and culture infrastructure when the Interior Appropriations bill is considered on the House floor. Sincerely, American Architectural Foundation, American Association of Museums, American Federation of Musicians, American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, American Music Center, Americans for the Arts, Association of Art Museum Directors, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Chamber Music America, Chorus America, College Art Association, Dance/USA, Fractured Atlas, League of American Orchestras, Literary Network, Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education, National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, National Council for the Traditional Arts, National Performance Network, OPERA America, Performing Arts Alliance, Society for the Arts in Healthcare, Theatre Communications Group.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Rhode Island is recognized for 5 minutes.
In Congress, we have to, of course, responsibly cut spending, but at the same time we also have to make the necessary investments that create jobs now, guarantee the future strength of our economy, and renew the vitality of our communities. And that's why we should absolutely reject this effort to further reduce the investment, our Nation's investment, in the National Endowment for the Arts.
Our targeted Federal investment in the arts through the NEA is very modest and is really crucial to spurring the contributions of corporate and foundation partners through their support through philanthropy, sponsorships, and volunteerism that help to sustain and leverage arts investments in communities all across this country.
This investment in the arts becomes all the more important during a time when States and cities all across this country face greater and greater fiscal constraints and at the same time are searching for opportunities to leverage Federal dollars and to spur economic development and job creation.
I represent a State that has realized an extraordinary return on investments generated by the arts. In Rhode Island, the presence of the arts is really sown into the fabric of our communities and of our economy. According to recent data from Americans for the Arts, in just the First Congressional District, in my district alone, more than 1,400 arts-related businesses employ nearly 6,000 people, and that represents more than 5 percent of the businesses in my district.
As the former mayor of Providence, I've seen firsthand the economic impact of the arts and the power of art to transform people and places.
I know the benefits of the arts in enriching our communities and uniting them as well. Arts nourish our soul.
The United States Conference of Mayors sent a letter to Members of Congress urging us to protect funding in the arts and to reject this amendment, recognizing that arts create jobs and produce tax revenues, that arts put people to work, and that arts attract tourism revenue. Arts in the creative industries are an enormous part of what fuels our local economies, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to our cities, generating activity in restaurants, hotels, transportation, and hospitality services.
This activity not only strengthens the vitality of our communities, it generates revenues for State and local governments. Across our country, the arts industry provides much more than aesthetic benefits. It creates meaningful economic benefits and opportunities.
During this period of budget austerity, we shouldn't neglect those investments with a proven positive rate of return. We shouldn't siphon off the fuel that helps power the American arts industry, a sector of our economy comprised of more than 750,000 businesses, employing nearly 3 million people nationwide, and generating more than $166 billion in economic activity.
Cutting the National Endowment for the Arts undermines our responsibility to create jobs and grow our economy, and diminishes us as a Nation.
As one study demonstrates, when we consider the overall direct Federal cultural spending of $1.4 billion, we're achieving a return on investment that's nearly 9 to 1. If we're really serious about strengthening our economy, putting more Americans back to work, and reining in our deficit, then we have to be smart about our investments and about our reductions.
With estimates indicating that every dollar of Federal funds invested in the arts generates $9 in economic benefits, further reductions to the National Endowment of the Arts are counterproductive and, in fact, will move our Nation backwards. It moves us backwards not only in the effect that we lose the immediate economic return on the investments, but this cut also pushes our country further behind our competitors and the global economy.
It was one of the great giants of the United States Senate, the great and passionate leadership of Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell, that led to the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965, the program that we're fighting to defend today. In 1963, Senator Pell opened hearings on preliminary legislation on this issue by stating, ``I believe that this cause and its implementation has a worldwide application, for as our cultural life is enhanced and strengthened, so does it project itself into the world beyond our shores.
``Let us apply renewed energies to the very concepts we seek to advance, a true renaissance, the reawakening, the quickening, and above all, the unstunted growth of our cultural vitality.''
In those words Senator Pell said clearly that this disinvestment that we're discussing today for the National Endowment for the Arts nearly 50 years later is a stark and appalling contrast to the renaissance and reawakening embodied in the National Endowment for the Arts.
For too long, the arts have been the first target for spending cuts in our public schools and here at the Federal level. It is at our own economic peril that we continue to deprive our youth and our communities of their connection to the arts.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
I ask unanimous consent to be given 1 additional minute to conclude.
The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Rhode Island?
The Acting CHAIR. Objection is heard.
I move to strike the last word, Mr. Chairman.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.
As sure as Wednesday follows Tuesday, you can count on congressional Republicans to propose gutting programs benefiting the arts and humanities. It's as predictable as it is irresponsible and unwise. It's the same old penny-wise, pound-foolish approach we have come to expect from a party that wants to spend lavishly on corporate giveaways while cutting just about every initiative that empowers the American people and improves lives and our communities.
I can't believe that while the Nation stands on the brink of default, while Republican stubbornness puts us less than a week away from economic calamity, we're having a debate about funding for the arts that represents 3 cents, 3 cents for every $100 of nonmilitary discretionary spending. Three cents, Mr. Chairman.
Believe me, the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts isn't breaking the bank. Grants to support museums and theater companies are not what caused a huge deficit, and cutting them will not put us on a fiscally responsible course. In fact, investments in the arts more than pay for themselves. For every $1 spent on arts programs, the country gets back $9 in economic benefit.
My friends on the other side of the aisle love to make arts funding a scapegoat. They never miss an opportunity to turn a spending debate into a culture war referendum on art. But let's be clear: The arts represent a vital economic industry, a mainstream employer of millions of Americans, and an integral part of a functioning society. The nonprofit arts sector generates more than $12 billion in tax revenues and more than $166 billion in economic activity every single year.
Communities that have a vibrant artistic life are magnets for tourism and new businesses that create jobs. There's also evidence that communities that embrace the arts tend to have higher real estate values, more civic activities and volunteerism, less crime, and lower poverty rates.
The arts are also a critical ingredient in the development of our children, with research showing that students receiving arts education perform better academically and are more likely to succeed in life.
But despite all the ways that arts support the common good, Republican leaders want to cut NEA. Instead, Mr. Chairman, I think it's time we cut Big Oil subsidies and cut loopholes for corporate jet owners. Arts programs have already taken a budget hit in recent years and are trying to do more with less. If we can give billions in subsidies to oil companies that are already raking in record profits, then surely we can maintain modest investments in the nonprofit arts sector that makes a vital contribution to American life.
Let's stop blaming small agencies for a fiscal crisis that was caused by three wars and tax cuts for the people who need them the least. Let's maintain robust funding for NEA.
With that, I yield the remainder of my time to the gentleman from Rhode Island.
I thank the gentlewoman.
For too long the arts have been the first target for spending cuts in our public schools here at the Federal level. It is at our own economic peril that we continue to deprive our youth and our community of their connection to the arts. I have seen on so many occasions the power of music and dance and theater to ignite the imagination of a young person, that causes them to stay in school, to follow their passion, and ultimately to realize their dreams.
Today's global economy demands an even greater level of creativity, innovative thinking, and entrepreneurship, a 21st century skill set that is enhanced by exposure to the arts in learning and in daily life. I participated in an arts education roundtable with CEOs from all across the country who said that those skills of creative problem solving, of innovation, of entrepreneurship were skills they were looking for in the workers of the 21st century. And the arts nourishes and enhances those skills.
We cannot underestimate the importance of maintaining critical Federal funding for our arts to fuel our national economic recovery, to grow our local economies, to teach our children, and to expand our civic discourse during these trying economic times.
I strongly urge my colleagues to reject further reductions to the National Endowment for the Arts because now, more than ever, we need the National Endowment for the reawakening, quickening, and unstunted growth of not only our cultural vitality but of our economic prosperity as well.
I move to strike the last word.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Kentucky is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Chairman, when we, in this House, decide how the taxpayers' money is going to be spent, it represents a statement of our values, a statement of our priorities. And the question of whether we should adequately fund the National Endowment for the Arts is one of those that speaks loudly to our values. It speaks loudly to our respect for the creative genius of human beings. It speaks loudly about our understanding of what the human soul is about.
We've heard much documentation of the economic impact of the arts throughout our country, $165 billion annually in economic activity. I certainly can attest to the fact that in my community of Louisville, Kentucky, more than 20,000 of my constituents are involved actively, professionally in the arts. We are one of the only communities that has resident theater, resident opera, ballet, children's theater, a vibrant visual arts community. It is one of the things that significantly enhances the quality of life in my community. It's one of those things that brings people to my community. So the economic importance of the arts is undeniable.
But I ask again about our priorities. The amount of money that we're talking about now, roughly $10 million over a period of years, we spent in the first few minutes of our activity in Libya. The first few Tomahawk missiles we launched there, that was $10 million. We spend $10 million in less than 1 hour in Afghanistan, less than 1 hour. So here we're talking about millions of jobs supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, $165 billion in economic activity, against all of the other things we do where there is so little payback for where we spend the taxpayers' money.
There are two things I would like to mention in addition to kind of the value-added aspects of arts funding.
If you think back over the history of mankind, what has survived of the great civilizations of this world? The only thing that has survived has been the creative product of the minds of men and women throughout history. Literature, music, architecture, paintings, sculpture, these are the only things that have survived.
If you look around this glorious room that we have the privilege of serving in--famous painting of George Washington, Lafayette, the architecture that's represented here--this is all the creative product of the men and women of generations. This is what our soul speaks to the world, to generations to come, and this is what we're talking about funding.
One of the greatest exports that we have from this country is our cultural product. We export music; we export film; we export drama, theater, all of these things, activities funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. So when we say to our taxpayers, our constituents, what are your values, we can say, you know, those Tomahawk missiles are wonderful.
And I certainly understand that we need to defend our country. But when we talk about our contributions to the history of mankind, humankind, it is undeniable that what we invest, the small amount we invest in supporting our creative genius, will be paid back many, many times over.
So I am proud to stand here and support funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, opposing the Walberg amendment, which would further cut the funding that has already been substantially reduced, and stand for the values of the millions and millions of men and women and children who not only participate in artistic activities, but also benefit immeasurably through an enhanced quality of life in our country.
I yield back the balance of my time.
I move to strike the requisite number of words.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Chairman, last month I gathered almost 200 individuals interested in the arts and humanities to discuss National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts programs. The turnout was impressive. But considering their eagerness to win endowment grants, it was also a reminder of how tight funding is for these critical programs.
My friend, poet Paul Muldoon, read some poetry to the attendees and reminded all, in his words, the NEA and the NEH are not properly funded. It is a national disgrace. Now, that was before the amendment that is here tonight that would cut the NEA even further.
The NEA and the NEH help ensure a well-rounded education, and result in a well-rounded society. Now, of course the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are different, but they are similar in what they bring to our Nation.
The arts and humanities inspire our children to explore their own creativity and encourage positive development in the course of their educational careers. The arts and humanities are a fundamental component of our society and they, indeed, warrant Federal funding. The arts and humanities help us know ourselves as a people.
Just a few weeks ago, here on this floor, the House approved a bill that increased the spending for the Department of Defense by $17 billion. The total funding for the endowments is hardly more than a percent of that increase in defense spending that was passed. Talk about misplaced priorities.
I'm reminded of the often told exchange between Scientist Robert Wilson, the Director of Fermilab, when he was testifying before the Senate and Senator Pastore. The Senator asked, with regard to a science experiment at Fermilab, whether it would help defend this country against the Soviet Union. Replied Dr. Wilson, no, Senator Pastore, this will not help defend us against the Soviet Union, but it will help make our country more worth defending.
This amendment is based on the premise that arts and humanities are a luxury. The author of this amendment to cut the NEA further says America is impoverished. Mr. Chairman, I'll tell you what would leave America really impoverished is if we strangle the arts and humanities.
We've heard what the arts contribute to our economy. The Americans for the Arts, in its report, Arts and Economic Prosperity, details that the arts support more than 5 million jobs and generate tens of billions of dollars in government revenue.
Arts are good for our cultural development, yes. They are good for our society at large and good for our economic development as well.
I've heard from a number of my constituents on this matter, and nearly everyone has pleaded with me to preserve as much funding as possible for the arts and for the humanities. As one of them said poignantly, ``A Nation without culture is a Nation without a soul.''
I strongly oppose this amendment and other efforts to strangle the arts and humanities in America and to defund the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment. Our focus today ought to be on jobs. And as some of my colleagues have already said, funding the arts creates jobs. For negligible investments, we create lots of jobs, because not only are the arts supported, but when you have artistic programs, restaurants and other activities generate jobs all over the community.
And our focus ought to be on education. Those children, for example, who are involved in of the arts, do better in school.
Now we're trying to cut funding for the arts in this amendment, and we cannot ignore why all these cuts are necessary. Last December we passed a tax cut of $800 billion, $400 billion a year. Now, we're looking to make cuts. Most of the projections are that we need $4 trillion over the next 10 years in deficit reduction, $400 billion a year. I hope we don't ignore the fact that that's the same number, $400 billion tax cuts a year, and now we're looking for $400 billion spending cuts a year.
So when we talk about cutting the arts, when we talk about cutting Social Security and Medicare and education and everything else, we cannot ignore the fact that all of these cuts are designed to preserve the tax cuts that we passed last December. And so to preserve those tax cuts--many are going to millionaires, multimillionaires, and oil companies--we find ourselves having to deal with this amendment to cut the arts.
Mr. Chairman, we should not be lulled into accepting caps. Caps just delay the inevitable because caps don't cut anything today. But when you start appropriating under the caps, in a few weeks or a few months, we'll find that there's not enough money for the arts, there's not enough money for Head Start, there's not enough money for education or Social Security or Medicare. So when you accept the caps, you're ultimately going to make these cuts.
We don't have any crisis today, Mr. Chairman, because some don't want to increase the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is a perfunctory responsibility of this Congress. We've already spent the money. The debt ceiling just acknowledges what we've already done. We need to just pass the debt ceiling and get back to the regular order where we make choices.
Do we want to cut Social Security and Medicare and the arts in order to preserve tax cuts, many going to the oil companies and multimillionaires? I hope not, and we should begin by defeating this amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
I move to strike the last word.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Minnesota is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Chair, in Minnesota we understand that the arts are an essential part of our economy and the number of jobs it creates. The arts are so vital to our economy and our development and civic life that in 2008, Minnesotans voted to amend our State constitution to raise money, yes, to tax themselves and dedicate part of the revenue to the arts.
Minnesota is the only State in the country where there's a dedicated public funding source for the arts. In our Constitution, Mr. Chair, we passed a legacy amendment. Hunters, anglers, conservationists, parents, seniors, all came together to say the arts, along with preserving our environment, is integral to our legacy, to our way of life in Minnesota.
In my district alone, the arts employ over 8,000 people. And the arts and the culture industry contributes over $830 million to Minnesota's economy. Investing in the arts makes economic sense, and it's good public policy.
As has been pointed out, for every dollar that is spent by the NEA, $9 in economic activity is generated. We must make tough choices, given this fiscal crisis, and I believe the NEA's budget has been targeted and it has been shrunk enough.
The NEA's budget has been cut 20 percent since 2010. Our artists, poets, writers, musicians, producers, sculptors, singers, dancers, photographers, and actors contribute millions of dollars to our local economy and create a vibrant social space for us to come together. And we hear time and time again from the major corporations and from the start-up companies, from computer companies to health care companies to our universities that it is American creativity and space for the arts that allows America to move forward.
So I strongly oppose this cut, and I reject any further attacks on the NEA's budget.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
I move to strike the last word.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Chairman, you've heard it. I will explain: I rose previously to claim the time in opposition, now I am rising to strike the last word.
Mr. Chairman, if this was not such a late hour, we would have had five or six times as many Members rising in opposition to this amendment. And I trust they reflect the general sentiment of the country.
Winston Churchill, at the height of World War II, was told by his budget director that to conserve money for armaments, they needed to cut the arts. And he turned to him and said, If we do that, what is it that we're fighting for?
The arts reflect the highest aspirations of our humanity. And in fact, in this country, they're a reflection of the true American spirit--our talent, our ability to communicate, our ability to relate to one another.
Now, let me be specific about what this amendment would do, because every single Member of this body has a direct grant from the National Endowment for the Arts going to that congressional district. If this amendment were to pass, more than $100 million in non-Federal matching funds for NEA awards would be lost. The number of Americans reached as a result will decline by 36 million compared to the number of Americans reached by NEA this year. The number of children and youth will decline by 3.6 million, and in fact there will be a near-17 percent decrease in State and regional partnerships.
I think if the Members fully consider the impact of this, they will realize this is one of the most effective Federal Government programs that we have. We have a gentleman whose name is Rocco Landesman. He could be making considerably more than he's making today in income, but he has chosen to devote his time and attention to leading the National Endowment for the Arts. In fact, he has suggested that, given the fiscal situation that confronts us, perhaps we should reduce the number of platforms for artists so as to save money. But he is determined not to reduce the quality of artistic performance in this country.
We have so many talented people, so much potential, and it is the NEA that reaches out and finds that potential all over the country. This is a fully national program. Every single congressional district benefits from grants from the NEA. And those grants expand the economy, the focus of the grant, multiple times--I'm trying to recall the number, I think it's five or six times at a minimum, many times 10, 20 times--the amount of money that is contributed to a particular artistic focus when the NEA decides that it's worthy of getting a grant.
They have maintained their credibility. In fact, when they were under attack in the 1990s, they made sure that every grant passes a very high level of scrutiny. Even though I think most of us don't believe in censorship, they understand all the competing political pressures. They have navigated those political waters. The Our Town program that the chairman of the subcommittee referred to is a terrific program. It really develops the best of what America is all about.
This has been a long night. We have tried to fight the good fight over here against any number of efforts to cut programs, to repeal legislation; but this is one of the most important.
I would urge this body to reject this amendment, to show our support for the National Endowment for the Arts, and really for the phenomenal artistic talent that it underscores and generates in this country.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Chair, I rise today to speak of the importance of the National Endowment for the Arts. I would like to thank my friend and fellow Co-Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, Representative Louise Slaughter, for her tireless efforts in advocating for the arts over the years.
Every day we witness the impact of the arts on our society. The arts in America are an integral component to our cultural vibrancy--fostering creativity and bringing together communities. Museums, performing arts centers, galleries, historical societies, and other cultural institutions not only provide significant contributions to the social fabric of neighborhoods and communities, but also provide significant economic contributions. In my home district in Pennsylvania, 1,410 arts-related businesses provide nearly 6,000 jobs. It is for these reasons that I support responsible investments in the
As our Nation is facing unprecedented financial challenges, it is critical that we address unsustainable levels of spending. To do this all Federal agencies and recipients of Federal dollars must share in making sacrifices. The fiscal year 2012 Interior Appropriations legislation already includes a 13 percent reduction in spending over fiscal year 2011 and a 20 percent reduction over 2010 for the NEA. Accordingly, I ask that my colleagues not support further cuts to the NEA and oppose the Walberg Amendment.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Walberg).
The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.
Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Michigan will be postponed.
The Clerk will read.
The Clerk read as follows:
For necessary expenses to carry out the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, $135,000,000, to remain available until expended, of which $125,000,000 shall be available for support of activities in the humanities, pursuant to section 7(c) of the Act and for administering the functions of the Act; and $10,000,000 shall be available to carry out the matching grants program pursuant to section 10(a)(2) of the Act, including $8,000,000 for the purposes of section 7(h): Provided, That appropriations for carrying out section 10(a)(2) of such Act shall be available for obligation only in such amounts as may be equal to the total amounts of gifts, bequests, and devises of money, and other property accepted by the chairman or by grantees of the Endowment under the provisions of subsections 11(a)(2)(B) and 11(a)(3)(B) of such Act during the current and preceding fiscal years for which equal amounts have not previously been appropriated.
Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Page 105, line 18, after the dollar amount insert ``(reduced by $13,500,000)''. Page 158, line 258, after the dollar amount insert ``(increased by $13,500,000)''.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Chairman, my amendment would reduce funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities by a mere 10 percent.
I have stood up here and offered amendment after amendment trying to highlight areas of our budget that we can afford reasonable cuts. If you add up all of those modest cuts, the Federal Government could end up saving a significant amount of money. We are facing a fiscal crisis in this Nation, a financial fiasco; and if we can't make the cuts that need to be made, this country is going to go into a total economic collapse.
Now, if someone's broke, they sell their luxury car and get a more efficient one; they stop eating steak and lobster and eat more hamburger and hot dogs. They turn in their membership to the country club. All those things are beautiful things, nice things, luxury things. We have a lot of luxuries that we've been funding through the Federal Government for a long period of time. But, Mr. Chairman, we can't afford to continue doing so because we are in an economic emergency as a Nation. We are broke. We have unsustainable debt. We have unsustainable debt that's going to cause our children and our grandchildren to live at a lower standard than we live today if we keep this up.
Mr. Chairman, in a race a number of years ago, I said Congress was sick; we need a doctor in the House. I'm a medical doctor, and I do addiction medicine. Government needs an intervention for its spending addiction. In addiction medicine we say, if there's no denial, there's no addiction. We've got a tremendous amount of denial about the economic crisis we face in this Nation. We've just simply got to stop the spending.
When a business goes under water, it's overextended as the Federal Government is, what does it do? It lowers its borrowing level--if the lender doesn't do that--it starts trying to figure out how to reduce the debt, and then it goes through every aspect of its expenditures and tries to cut expenses all across the board in every area. The Federal Government needs to do the same.
And then the business will look at how to raise more revenue. Our Democratic colleagues say that we need to raise revenue by raising taxes, but that will just tax away jobs. We must create jobs here in America. We create jobs in America by getting the tax burden and the regulatory burden off the job creators, the small businesses here in America that are suffering and are suffocating with the burden of over-regulation and taxes. We could create more revenue for the Federal Government, not by raising taxes but by raising taxpayers, and we do that by putting people to work and creating a stronger economy. It's absolutely critical for the future of this Nation. We can't keep going down this road.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, I've heard all the arguments, and for the Smithsonian Institute and other things that a lot of people think are very beautiful and nice, just like that luxury automobile, but we need to stop it. The future of our Nation depends upon it. I'm fighting for America. I'm fighting for the future of our children and my grandchildren. Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts does not need to be a priority in the midst of these trying times, and I urge my colleagues to support a very simple request to reduce its funding by 10 percent.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now rise.
Mr. Chairman, may I make a parliamentary inquiry?
The Acting CHAIR. State your inquiry.
If the Committee does now rise, an amendment has been offered, would not the body, the Committee of the Whole, take up the conclusion of that amendment when we reconvene on the same bill the next time the bill is brought up, whether it be tomorrow, Friday, or Saturday?
The Acting CHAIR. The amendment will still be pending.
The question is on the motion to rise.
The motion was agreed to.
Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Broun of Georgia) having assumed the chair, Mr. Paulsen, Acting Chair of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, reported that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 2584) making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes, had come to no resolution thereon.
- July 10, 1997
Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 4193, Department Of The Interior And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999July 21, 1998
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