Jesses Helms (R-N.C.) to defund the agency, and a weeks-long delay in resolving Western land grazing rights may have seemed like deja vu, but they were in fact the elements of this year’s federal arts appropriation process. On Nov.
11, President Clinton finally signed the 1994 Interior Appropriations bill, which included $170.2 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. Marshaling the bill through Congress proved difficult without a chairman at the NEA’s helm to drive the process (Jane Alexander was not confirmed until late September), and the leadership vacuum–combined with Congress’s deficit-reduction concerns and ongoing NEA controversies–resulted in the lowest annual appropriation since 1989.
The Endowment was further endangered when Sen. Helms offered three amendments to the bill on the Senate floor in mid-September–one to kill the agency entirely, a second to eliminate grants to individual artists and restrict funding to institutions, and a third to direct 70 percent of the NEA’s program budget to state arts agencies for distribution.Appropriations 1992-94The following chart compares appropriations for fiscal years 1992, 1993 and 1994 (all figures are in millions) for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and Institute for Museum Services.
“Rather, it is funneling most of the money to the big cities–where it is often used to help impose or promote a liberal, immoral, pro-homosexual and perverse culture on the rest of the country.”Despite Helms’s attempts, all three amendments were defeated, and the bill was sent to a House-Senate conference committee where it finally emerged with the higher, Senate-approved NEA budget of $170.2 million, which was viewed as a victory for the arts in such troubled times.At the same time, Sen.
Helms announced a wait-and-see attitude about newly confirmed NEA chairman Alexander, promising a grace period of “at least a year or so in which she can concentrate on upgrading the quality of art supported by the American taxpayers.” But his promise was largely responsible for the stall in the Endowment’s reauthorizing legislation.The House of Representatives passed a two-year reauthorization bill in mid-October by a vote of 304 to 119. Two damaging amendments attached to the bill were handily defeated: the Crane Amendment to abolish the NEA, proposed by Rep.
Philip Crane (R-Ill.) was retired by a 326 to 104 count, and an amendment offered by Rep. Robert Dornan (R-Calif.) to cut funding for the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Museum Services by 40 percent was defeated 281 to 151.
A third amendment to freeze NEA funding to any state that cut its state arts funding, authored by Rep. Steve Gunderson (R-Wisc.) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.
Y.), passed by a voice vote. A surprise motion to send the reauthorization bill back to committee to address the issue of federal funds to undocumented workers, offered by Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.
), failed by a very narrow margin of 214 to 210, sending a clear signal about Congress’s discomfort with undocumented workers and its dissatisfaction with the San Diego “Art Rebate” project in which $10 bills were distributed by artists to illegal Mexican workers.In early November, the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee approved a reauthorization bill identical to the measure passed in the House, but Congress adjourned without taking up the bill for a full Senate vote. At press time, the two-year reauthorization was not expected to be brought to the Senate floor until late January.Legislation to preserve and stabilize nonprofit postal rates was signed into law by President Clinton in October, and the new rates went into effect Nov.
21. The new law increases the third-class nonprofit postal rate by 23 percent over six years (at 3.87 percent per year)–a considerable improvement over proposed 35-45 percent increases. Nonprofit third-class mail is now 8.
3 cents per piece, up from 8.1 cents for pre-sorted mail.
Steele senior deputy chairman, new appointments include Susan Clampitt, deputy chairman for programs; Scott Sanders, deputy chairman for public partnership; Richard Woodruff, congressional liaison; and Olive Mosier, director of policy, planning and research. They are joined by Alexander D. Crary in the newly created position of director of external affairs and White House liaison.Clampitt comes to the NEA after a 30-year career in the arts, holding curatorial and administrative positions at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Bank Street College of Education.
Sanders served as executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission for 13 years. Woodruff worked for 13 years for Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) as staff director and legislative director. Mosier served as executive vice president and chief operations officer of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies.
Crary has been the lead Senate staffer on cultural policy for the past 15 years, working for Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) on the Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities.Also, Karen Kay Christensen, formerly assistant general counsel at National Public Radio, was named NEA general counsel, and Ginny Terzano has been appointed director of public affairs, after four years as press secretary to the Democratic National Committee.