“President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts has caused great anxiety for arts advocates, especially given that Republicans control both houses of Congress,” reports Sopan Deb in Friday’s (4/7) New York Times. “But almost immediately after the president submitted his budget proposal in mid-March, a handful of Republicans put themselves forward as favoring the preservation of the endowment. And the list of vocal Republican allies has slowly grown in recent weeks. Eleven House Republicans are now among more than 150 members of Congress who have signed a letter calling for a slight increase in federal funds to the endowment—a far cry from its elimination, which Mr. Trump is the first president to propose. The signatories, who include one Republican who previously voted to defund public broadcasting, sent the letter to Representative Ken Calvert, Republican of California, and Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota. Mr. Calvert is the chairman of the House subcommittee tasked with appropriating funds to cultural endowments, while Ms. McCollum is the top ranking Democrat on it. … Supporters of the endowment still face an uphill battle … However… this is a welcome start.”

Posted April 10, 2017