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July 25, 2013

Congressional Committee OKs Plan to Cut NEA Budget in Half

The House Appropriations Committee has approved a bill that would cut 49 percent from President Obama's proposed budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and slash other federal culture spending, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The measure would allocate $75-million to the NEA, a level last seen in 1974. The president's proposed fiscal 2014 budget seeks $154.5-million for the grant-making agency. The committee's proposal also significantly cuts funds for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Gallery of Art, among other agencies.

The bill calls for an overall federal spending cut of 19 percent. Advocacy group Americans for the Arts termed the proposed NEA cuts "significantly disproportionate" to the rest of the budget.

Republican Rep. Hal Rogers, the committee's chairman, said in a statement that the proposal aims to protect vital services "that directly affect the safety and well-being of Americans, while dramatically scaling back lower-priority, or 'nice-to-have' programs."