NEA Affirms Its Role Amid Trump's Call for Defunding

Jane Chu
Steve Peterson


In a March bipartisan vote on the 2018 federal budget, Congress passed a spending bill that endorses the importance of the National Endowment for the Arts, with a slight increase in its funding. President Donald Trump on March 23 signed the bill that includes $152.8 million for the NEA. That could all change next year, however: In his 2019 federal budget proposal, which was unveiled in February, Trump called for deep funding cuts that would lead to the elimination of the NEA. It was the second year he had done so.

The president’s proposal for 2019 prompted NEA chairman Jane Chu to affirm the agency’s contributions to the nation. “We see our funding actively making a difference with individuals in thousands of communities,” she said in a statement, detailing NEA programs and “1,134 grants totaling $26.68 million to organizations and individuals in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

“As a federal government agency, the NEA cannot engage in advocacy, either directly or indirectly,” added Chu. “We will, however, continue our practice of educating about the NEA’s vital role in serving our nation’s communities.”

This article originally appeared in the April 14 issue of Billboard.


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