Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Rep. Cynthia Lummis votes against further cuts to the NEA

Stunned Wyoming arts advocates passed this along to me so I'm sharing it with you:
House Votes against NEA Funding Cuts; Strong Comeback for Arts Advocacy  
July 29, 2011
From: Thomas L. Birch, Legislative Counsel, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies 
The vote in the House of Representatives on July 28 demonstrated a strong victory for arts advocates intent on gaining legislative support for federal arts funding. The amendment offered by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), a freshman in Congress and a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), would have reduced 2012 appropriations for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to $125 million from the level of $135 million proposed in the bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee. Walberg sponsored a similar amendment last February to bring 2011 NEA funds down to $125 million. That amendment passed by a vote of 217-209. Yesterday's vote, recorded at 181-240, defeated the Walberg amendment. 
This time around, the voting patterns noticeably shifted. Even some of our champions in Congress were surprised at the size of the winning vote. In February, 22 Republicans joined all but three Democrats in voting against the arts funding cut. This week, all Democrats and 55 Republicans voted together to defeat the move to reduce the NEA funds. Conservative Republicans teamed up with moderates from their own party to carry the vote. Almost half the Republicans voting in support of the NEA's budget and against the Walberg amendment are, like Walberg, freshmen in Congress and RSC members. 
Clearly, forces combined to win that outcome. The advocacy of NASAA's members was strong and engaged. Personal contacts carried the day. Our colleagues in other arts organizations were equally involved through their grass-roots networks. Our bipartisan champions in Congress stood visibly against the proposed funding cut. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), chair of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, had pledged earlier to oppose attempts on the House floor to cut the NEA budget. He was true to his word and his Democratic colleague on the subcommittee, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), was eloquent on the floor in defense of federal arts funding. The co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus played major roles during the floor debate. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) organized floor speeches with her colleagues to speak against the Walberg amendment. Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA) whipped votes against the amendment from among his Republican colleagues. 
Here are the 55 Republicans who voted to hold the line on cuts to the NEA, opposing the Walberg amendment. Each of them deserves special thanks. Please let your representatives know how much you appreciate their position in support of the NEA budget and the important role the funding plays in your state. 
Republicans voting against the Walberg amendment:  
Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming. 
The House of Representatives plans to continue meeting through the weekend to finish work on the Interior Appropriations Bill—and to produce a plan for raising the debt ceiling—but their work is done on the arts appropriations.  
Many thanks again to all of you for your effective advocacy in turning around an important vote on the way to realizing the best possible budget for the NEA in 2012. Please take a moment to express your thanks to your own representatives who stood up in support of funding for the arts.
Thank you, Rep. Lummis. Don't get to say that very often.


larry kurtz said...

Congrats, Mr. Shay!

Michael Shay said...

Thanks, Larry. Didn't even see this until you brought it to my attention. I won't let it go to my head which is already quite large.