President Donald Trump’s budget for the fiscal year 2018 calls for the eventual elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, a proposal that was expected and will likely lead to a furious round of lobbying to save the agency this summer.
The budget proposal calls for providing $29 million in funding “to conduct an orderly closeout of the agency beginning in fiscal year 2018.” That is just a fraction of the estimated $158 million outlay for the NEA this year.
Trump’s budget also calls for the elimination of funding for the NEA’s sister agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Also on the chopping block is funding for public TV and radio stations via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The CPB received an advanced appropriation for its 2018 fiscal year, but the White House budget calls for canceling much of its $445 million in funding. It requests just $30 million to conduct “an orderly closeout” of CPB funding.
That, too, was expected. Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters on Monday that the budget would call for the elimination of CPB funding. The Trump administration also unveiled an outline of its budget in March that eliminated federal funding to the CPB, NEA and NEH.
Paula Kerger, the president and CEO of PBS, said in a statement, “Cutting federal funding for public media would result in a tremendous loss to our country that would be especially devastating for rural and underserved communities.”
Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, said that such a move would jeopardize the foundation of public media. “Local public media stations, beginning with those serving rural communities and small towns, would cease to exist,” she said in a statement. “Ultimately what would also cease to exist is high-quality commercial free early childhood content focused on educating our youngest citizens, and access to lifelong learning for all.”
Advocates for the arts and public broadcasting have expressed confidence that Congress will retain funding. A budget deal to fund the federal government through the end of the 2017 fiscal year preserved the agencies.
But the next few months are expected to see a furious round of lobbying. Last week, a coalition of groups, including the MPAA and SAG-AFTRA, called on Congress to at least retain funding for the cultural agencies.