The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1965. As one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States, NEH provides critical support for research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities through grants to a wide range of educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and individual scholars nationwide. [URL: www.neh.gov]
For FY 2014 we urge Congress to provide no less than $154.4 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities. This would allow the agency to better meet extensive unmet demand for support, which routinely outstrips available funds. In FY 2012, NEH received 5,008 competitive grant applications, representing more than $515.7 million in requested funds. Of these, NEH was only able to fund 14.7% of the applications reviewed, the lowest funding rate in NEH’s 45-year history. Since FY 2008, the number of applications has increased by approximately 17%. We are especially concerned about the long-term erosion of funding for NEH’s competitive grant programs, which currently stand at only forty percent of their value (in real dollars) in FY 1994.
Current funding status
Under the sequester, funding for NEH declined to $139 million from the CR level of $146.0 million for FY 2013. This figure represents a $14.7 million cut from the FY 2011 level of $154.7 million (and a decrease of $27.5 million from the FY 2010 level of $167.5 million). For FY 2014, President Obama requested $154.465 million in funding for the agency.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies spending bill on July 23. The bill includes $75 million for NEH, which is a reduction of $71 million (49%) compared to the fiscal year 2013 enacted level.
On July 31, the full House Appropriations Committee debated the bill. During the markup, Representative Nita Lowey (NY) and Representative David Price (NC) offered an amendment to the bill that would fund NEH and NEA at the Administration’s requested level of $154.4 million. Ranking Member Jim Moran (VA) spoke in favor of the amendment. While the amendment was defeated on a party-line vote, with all Democrats on the panel voting in favor and all Republicans voting against, the Committee adjourned for the August recess without taking action on the overall bill. The Committee plans to reconvene in September, when there are only nine legislative days before the end of the fiscal year.
NEH is funded under the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. NEH did not receive funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
Note: *The FY 2010 Budget Request included $10 million to transfer administration of the NCACA program to NEH (not approved by Congress).
[Last Reauthorization Enacted November 5, 1990]
The NEH was established by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 (P.L. 89-209). NEH was last reauthorized through the 1991 Department of Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 5769), specifically TItle I of the Act, "Amendments to the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965", also referred to as the "Arts, Humanities, and Museums Amendments of 1990". [Bill text: P.L. 101-512]