On Wednesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to increase funding for preservation programs and defeated an effort to reduce funds for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Thanks to all of you who have advocated on behalf of historic preservation; your voices make a difference!
Several key amendments to the fiscal year 2019 Interior appropriations bill passed. Rep. Joe Courtney [D-CT] successfully offered an amendment to increase the investment in the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) by $5 million to equal the amount allocated in last year’s budget.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus also succeeded in securing additional funds for sites associated with the African-American experience.
• Rep. Terri Sewell’s [D-AL] amendment directs $2.5 million away from the Secretary of the Interior’s departmental operations and instead increases funding for competitive grants to preserve the sites and stories of the Civil Rights Movement.
• Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s [D-TX] amendment adds an additional $500,000 to the HPF for competitive grants for the survey and nomination of properties to the National Register and as National Historic Landmarks associated with under-represented communities.
• A second amendment by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee directs that an additional $1 million of HPF funds should be allocated to grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
• Rep. James Clyburn’s [D-SC] amendment increases funding for HPF grants to HBCUs by $2 million.
Rep. Glenn Grothman [R-WI] led an effort to decrease funding for NEH by 15%, almost $23 million. However, the House of Representatives voted decisively, 114-297, against cutting NEH monies. We are pleased to again see the strong support in Congress for the NEH, despite President Trump’s pledges to eliminate funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.
Next week, the U.S. Senate will vote on its version of the appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior. It is likely that we’ll need to make more calls to our Senators to ensure that they too support strong funding for preservation programs. Stay tuned!
Once both chambers have voted, conferees from the House and Senate will work together to create a compromise bill. If the compromise bill passes that House and Senate, it will then go the President for his signature.
Proposed Amendment to Cut Funding for NEH and NEA was Defeated
Thanks to your swift action, the House voted yesterday afternoon to reject the Grothman amendment to the Interior appropriations bill! This amendment would have cut the budget of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) by 15% or nearly $23 million. The Interior Appropriations bill will go forward with $155 million in funding for both the NEH and NEA, reflecting $2 million increases on last year’s funding level!
The House rejected Grothman’s amendment by a vote of 297-114. The 297 representatives who voted against the amendment were a truly bipartisan group of 185 Democrats and 111 Republicans. This was the first time since 2011 that Representatives have taken a vote specifically on the NEH and NEA, and we were especially gratified to see support from many of the Republicans with whom humanities advocates have met over the past several years.
Check how your Representative voted here, and tweet at or a send a message of thank you to those Representatives who opposed the amendment!
We expect the House to vote on and pass the Interior Appropriations bill, with funding of $155 million, later today. Once the Senate passes its version of the bill—which passed out of committee with $155 million for the NEH—the House and Senate will work to reconcile any discordant spending levels. We will keep you updated if your action is needed again.
Thank you for advocating!
National Humanities Alliance