NEA funding threatened

House panel votes to cut off coin

WASHINGTON — Just one day after being sworn in as the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, William Ivey was greeted Thursday on Capitol Hill with a vote by a House subcommittee to eliminate funding for the arts agency.

Despite the vote, Ivey remained confident that by the end of the federal budget debate, which regularly stretches through October, the arts agency’s money will be restored.

“We’ve known for some time that the House leadership planned yet another attempt to target the Endowment, but strong bipartisan support for this agency in Congress and around the country will win out,” Ivey said.

On a voice vote, the House subcommittee responsible for setting the NEA’s budget voted to eliminate the agency’s funding. After a contentious battle last year, the House and the Senate agreed to a $98 million budget for the NEA.

Also Thursday, the same subcommittee rejected a proposal by Rep. Sidney Yates (D-Ill.) to increase the agency’s budget to $110 million. The Clinton administration has recommended pegging NEA funding at $136 million.