Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on the President's $789 billion economic stimulus package, HR 1, the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Both the House and Senate are expected to vote today on the conference report, which was released late last night and is now available online: http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/Recovery_Bill_Div_A.pdf.
Arts & Culture Funding - $50 million included in the House version of the bill for the National Endowment for the Arts has survived conference. The NEA funds are "to be distributed in direct grants to fund arts projects and activities which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn". The report further states that "40 percent of such funds shall be distributed to State arts agencies and regional arts organizations in a manner similar to the agency's current practice and 60 percent of such funds shall be for competitively selected arts projects."
The Coburn amendment to the Senate bill, which excluded specific types of institutions from receiving stimulus funds, has survived, but language preventing funds for museums, theaters and arts centers has been dropped. (Casinos, aquariums, zoos, golf courses, and swimming pools would still be prohibited from receiving funds.)
The National Park Service will receive $146 million for deferred maintenance of facilities and trails and for other critical repair and rehabilitation projects, plus an additional $589 million for construction projects, including preservation and repair of historical resources within the National Park system. An additional $15 million is provided for the Historic Preservation Fund for historically black colleges and universities. The Smithsonian Institution will receive $25 million for repair and revitalization of existing facilities.
Science & Technology Funding - The conference agreement provides $5.6 billion for various science programs, including economic, environmental, weather, and construction research and development. Within this, $3 billion is designated for the National Science Foundation, including $2.5 billion for research on social, economic, and environmental issues, $400 million for construction of research facilities, and $100 million for education and human resources programs.