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Trump budget would eliminate funding for National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities

NEA Chairwoman Jane Chu at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary in Compton in 2015. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
NEA Chairwoman Jane Chu at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary in Compton in 2015. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities are among the independent agencies earmarked for zero funding in the 2018 budget blueprint released Thursday by the Trump administration. 

The NEA and NEH are among 19 agencies the proposal targets for elimination of funding, along with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, to name a couple. 

Both endowments were created in 1965. The NEA has seen annual budgets ranging from just under $3 million in 1966 to $176 million in 1992. Currently, the annual appropriation amount is just under $148 million. The NEH requested just under $150 million for fiscal 2017.

"While recognizing this Blueprint is not the full Federal budget, it does provide lawmakers and the public with a view of the priorities of the President and his Administration," said Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, in a preface to the proposal.

As a federal agency, the NEA cannot advocate for its own survival. However, it did issue a statement Thursday addressing the budget proposal. 

"Today we learned that the President’s FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts," NEA Chair Jane Chu said. "We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every Congressional District in the nation." 

Calling the budget request "a first step in a very long budget process," the NEA said it is working with the OMB to provide documents and will continue to operate "as usual" until Congress enacts a new budget and would continue talking about the NEA's role in national culture. 

"We are greatly saddened to learn of this proposal for elimination, as NEH has made significant contributions to the public good over its 50-year history," NEH Chairman William D. Adams said Thursday, echoing the NEA in explaining that as an agency of the executive branch of government, it had to answer to the president and the Office of Management and Budget as part of the budgeting process and would continue to operate normally.

The new fiscal year stars Oct. 1.

"We expect this news to be an active topic of discussion among individuals and organizations that advocate for the arts," Chu said. 

DOCUMENT: Read Trump's budget blueprint

For the Record, 9:08 a.m.: An earlier version of this post said 20 agencies are targeted for funding elimination. Nineteen agencies have been targeted.

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