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House Appropriations Committee's Economic Stimulus Package Includes $50 Million for the National Endowment for the Arts
The House Democratic leadership has just released details of an $825 billion economic stimulus package with $275 billion in tax breaks and $550 billion in spending.
The proposal includes a $50 million allocation for the National Endowment for the Arts, with the stipulation that 40 percent of such funding be distributed through state and regional arts agencies, the balance to go out in direct grants from the NEA. The proposal further stipulates that all funds must be awarded by September 30, 2010 using existing grant-making procedures.
This information is being passed on from the State Arts Council to alert the N.H. arts community and related enterprises about the ways that the House leadership version of the new economic stimulus package is including provisions that could benefit the arts and communities that involve the arts to meet local needs.
Here are more details from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies:
The announcement made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. David Obey (D-WI), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, marks the first step in the legislative process of moving forward on the stimulus measure with the goal of passing the legislation and sending it to President-elect Barack Obama by Feb. 13, when Congress is scheduled to begin its Presidents Day recess.
The funding and tax proposals outlined by the Democratic leaders go to the tax-writing and appropriations committees in the House next week, after the presidential inauguration, to draft the legislation embodying the proposals offered today. Similar action needs to be taken by the Senate before a final piece of legislation is ready for the President's signature.
The funding for the NEA, in a section tagged "National Treasures" with a total of $400 million, includes $200 million to address the deterioration of the National Mall and repair of the Tidal Basin's collapsing walls at the Jefferson Memorial, and $150 million for the backlog of repairs at the Smithsonian. No other cultural agencies were marked for funding.
Overall, the stimulus proposal would provide $141.6 billion for education programs; $124.1 billion for health care programs; $102 billion in assistance to workers for job training and unemployment benefits; $90 billion for transportation infrastructure; $87 billion to help states with Medicaid costs; $54 billion in energy spending; $16 billion for science and technology-related programs; and $4 billion for state and local law enforcement funding.
The specifics of the proposal announced by the Democratic leaders include an unusual statement of accountability attached to the measure, referred to as "a historic level of transparency." Among the safeguards, the measure states: "Public notification of funding must include a description of the investment funded, the purpose, the total cost and why the activity should be funded with recovery dollars. Governors, mayors or others making funding decisions must personally certify that the investment has been fully vetted and is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. This will also be placed on the recovery website.... There are no earmarks in this package."
January 16, 2009