WASHINGTON — After the House voted 10 days ago to lower the guillotine on the National Endowment for the Arts, a Senate subcommittee voted Friday to restore the arts agency’s $100 million budget.
The Senate appropriations subcommittee not only replaced the $99.5 million budget cut by the House, it added $560,000 to bring the NEA’s total budget up to $100,060,000. The Clinton administration wants $136 million for the agency.
“There was no support — zero support — of the 15 members of this subcommittee to wipe out the National Endowment for the Arts,” said Interior Appropriations subcommittee chairman Slade Gorton (R-Wash.). The full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote on the $13 billion Interior budget, which includes NEA’s funding, on Tuesday.
The bill still has a long way to go. Once it clears the full committee the budget legislation goes to the Senate floor. Once the Senate votes, the House and Senate negotiate their differences before sending it to the White House for President Clinton’s signature. The White House has threatened to veto the budget legislation unless it includes NEA funding.
“This is a very good day for the Arts Endowment,” said NEA chairman Jane Alexander Friday, “The $100 million is a strong endorsement by the Senate Subcommittee and a clear signal of broad bipartisan support for the NEA throughout the Senate.”