Yesterday, we posted about the arts as a vibrant economic engine, and how including dollars for struggling arts organizations and worthy arts projects in the new stimulus package makes good sense from an economic standpoint.
As if on cue, Save Richmond just got a press release from Virginians For the Arts that shows that Jesse Helms is alive and well in today’s U.S. Senate — and that good sense is on the wane.
Take a second and let Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner know that the arts deserve every bit as much financial support from the forthcoming stimulus package as private jets for bailed-out financial institutions or corporate sports stadium sponsorships or huge executive bonuses.
Make your voice heard:
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has introduced an amendment to prohibit any funds in the economic stimulus bill from going to museums, theaters, arts centers, for renovations, construction or salaries, in a list of others including casinos, golf courses, stadiums, and aquariums.
This amendment may be offered as early as today. Call Virginia Senators Webb and Warner TODAY and urge them to vote NO on the Coburn “Limitation of Funds Amendment No. 175.”
You are urged to call Senator Webb’s legislative aide, Maribel Ramos, to voice your opinion directly: at (202) 224-4024. You can email her at email@example.com. Fax Senator Jim Webb, c/o Maribel Ramos at (202) 228-6363. Write him at Rayburn House Office Building, Room 144, Washington, D.C. 20510-4605.
Please call Senator Mark Warner’s legislative aide, Leah Ralph. Legislative Aide Leah Ralph handles education issues and will temporarily handle issues on arts and culture. Phone her at (202) 224-2385; fax: 202-224-2530, or email her at Leah_Ralph@warner.senate.gov. You can write Senator Warner at Dirksen Senate Office Building Room B40C, Washington, D.C. 20510-4601.
The language of the amendment, (Amendment No. 175, as filed) is, “None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, arts center, or highway beautification project, including renovation, remodeling, construction, salaries, furniture, zero-gravity chairs, big screen televisions, beautification, rotating pastel lights, and dry heat saunas.”
$50 Million for NEA Missing from Senate Version of Recovery Plan
As noted in an alert last week, on January 28 the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the $819 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan (ARRP) 244 to 188 including $50 million in additional funds for the National Endowment for the Arts.
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee marked up their version of the ARRP, and at present it does not include a $50 million funding item for the National Endowment for the Arts - as the House version does.
Please request that Senators Warner and Webb support the House-passed appropriation for the NEA. While it is not currently in the Senate’s proposed stimulus package, the opportunity to have the funding included in a conference report or submitted as an amendment during consideration, is still possible.
Please call today!
It’s always nice to know that the culture wars are alive and well in the halls of government. To quote one local arts administrator: “I love how heat saunas and zero gravity chairs are lumped in with salaries. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.”