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Democrats save arts funding for NPR and PBS from Donald Trump by Mythili Sampathkumar

May 1, 2017


Mr Trump will likely still propose deep cuts or elimination of federal arts funding but they are safe for this financial year

Source: Independent

Democrats have saved arts funding under threat from Donald Trump, including money for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR).

Both houses of congress are expected to vote on the spending bill to keep the government funded for the current fiscal year this week before it goes to Mr Trump for his signature.

Representative Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, which is made up of Republicans who dissented on Mr Trump’s replacement to Obamacare, said he and other conservatives were “disappointed.“

“We'll see how it plays out this week but I think you're going to see conservatives have some real concerns with this legislation,” Mr Jordan told CNN.

This spending bill is really more of a temporary reprieve. It is different from the “skinny budget” for federal spending Mr Trump introduced earlier this year, which is meant to cover spending for the next financial year, beginning in October 2017.

Arts, climate change, and passenger rail service funding could be reversed once he introduces his full budget proposal for the next financial year. He is expected to introduce that later this month.

Arts-related agencies like the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) have been spared cuts until September 2017 as well.

The three organisations provide money for everything from public television programming to community theatres and scholarly research.

CPB's budget will remain the same, at $445m (£345m). The NEA and NEH will each see a small budget increase to $150m (£116m).

This windfall is not expected to happen again once Mr Trump introduces his full federal budget proposal the week of 22 May.

Mr Trump has made clear he wants to eliminate or drastically cut federal funding to all of these arts-related agencies.

Michael Montgomery, a Detroit-based consultant to cultural and nonprofit organisations, told The Independent that the “skinny budget” cuts are possibly a “warning shot...to NEA, NEH, CBP and their grantees that they should be more sensitive to the political and cultural sensitivities of the broader Trump constituency or be prepared to suffer the budgetary consequences”.

The spending bill also does not include Mr Trump’s pledge to cut $100 million in his full budget to climate change programmes. The proposed cut would affect several government agencies like NASA and the US Coast Guard, both which may face up to 14 per cent cuts in the next financial year.

It does, however, make a small one per cent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, a far cry from the proposed 28 per cent for the next financial year.

© Independent