Across the Board Cuts to Humanities Funding in Trump Budget Request

This morning the Trump Administration released its Presidential Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2018. This document expands on a budget blueprint released by the Administration in March that called for the elimination of funding for most of our budget priorities. As anticipated, this detailed request reiterates the earlier calls for the elimination of the NEH, IMLS, NHPRC, and Title VI and Fulbright Hays.

The Administration requests a small amount of funding for the NEH and IMLS for FY 2018—$42 million for NEH and $23 for IMLS. For NEH, this amount represents the salaries and expenses required to shut down the agency and the amount required to honor pre-existing grant commitments (specifically matching funds). For IMLS, the money is designated for an “orderly close out.”

The request also calls for the Woodrow Wilson Center to transition to exclusively private funding and requests $7.5 million in FY 2018 to facilitate that transition.

For the other funding priorities, the budget requests no appropriation for FY 2018.

You can view our complete funding chart here.


Next Steps in the Budget and Appropriations Process

Now that the Administration has issued its formal request, Congress will set an overall level of discretionary spending through a Congressional Budget Resolution. The Appropriations Committee will then assign spending levels to its twelve subcommittees, and then the subcommittees will draft individual bills. We anticipate that this work will extend through the summer.

It is important to remember that the Administration’s budget request is only advisory, and Congress will ultimately make decisions about funding. In recent years, the NEH has received strong bipartisan and bicameral support from the appropriations committees, including the increased funding for FY 2017 announced just three weeks ago. While the overall fiscal constraints that the subcommittees will face are still unclear and the budget is likely to be tighter than last year, we are encouraged by this bipartisan support.


Advocacy in the Coming Months

As Congress begins it work on FY 2018, it is important for Members of Congress to hear from their constituents. Please check out the multiple ways to advocate for the NEH and other humanities programs on our Take Action page. 

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to execute our strategy of recruiting new advocates in the districts and states of the Members of Congress we expect to play a decisive role in blocking attempts to eliminate humanities funding. This outreach has already garnered an enthusiastic response from leaders of higher education institutions, museum directors, and NEH grantees.  

This is likely to be a long battle. We will keep you informed as the situation develops and let you know about key moments when your members and colleagues can make a difference.

Read more: policy updates