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NEA funding survives vote

The National Endowment for the Arts survived an attempt to cancel its funding Wednesday as House conservatives sought to revive a debate over art works they say are unfit for taxpayer support.

The House voted 322-105 to kill a move by Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.) to delete the NEA’s $ 175 million allocation from a 1994 spending bill covering the Interior Dept. and related agencies.

The House did not take final action on the measure.

While the NEA’s supporters contended the agency has sponsored important operas, orchestras and economically beneficial programs, critics objected to what they said were obscene art projects.

Rep. Bob Dornan, R-Calif., complained that the NEA had funded material that cannot even be discussed on televised congressional sessions. He listed a variety of art works with sexual and scatological subject matter.

The NEA has been a favorite target of conservative groups that claimed it was funding obscene works of art with taxpayer money.

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