Big Wins for Humanities Advocates

Earlier this week, Congress released its spending deal for FY 2020, which included a $7.25 million increase for the NEH, the largest increase we have seen in a decade. If enacted, which it is expected to be, this would bring the agency’s budget to $162.25 million.

This is a testament to the efforts of humanities advocates across the country, who have advocated on Capitol Hill, engaged with their Members of Congress in district, and called and written each time the Trump administration has sought to zero out funding for the agency. 

Other humanities funding streams did similarly well. Title VI and Fulbright-Hayes received increases of $3 million and $1 million, respectively. NHPRC received a $500,000 increase, bringing its total to $6.5 million. The Institute for Museum and Library Services received a $10 million boost, bringing its budget to $252 million. The Woodrow Wilson Center received a $2 million boost, bringing its budget to $14 million. Both the Library of Congress and the National Park Service’s historic preservation funding also received significant increases.

The one disappointing spot was a decrease in the operating budget for the National Archives, which has now been cut for the past two years. We will work to reverse those declines in the coming year.

For more detail on the funding levels proposed in the bill, please see our funding chart.

The House passed this package on Tuesday, in the form of two large funding bills, and the Senate is expected to consider it before the Continuing Resolution expires this Friday. The president is expected to sign the funding bills.

We will build on this momentum at our Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day this March. Please join us in Washington, D.C. to thank your Members of Congress for these increases and push for additional increases next year.

Read more: advocacy policy updates