What would a partial government shutdown mean for the humanities?

As the possibility of a partial government shutdown looms, we want to shed some light on which humanities programs will be affected if the government cannot reach a funding agreement by midnight tonight. While FY19 funding for some agencies has already been passed by Congress and signed by the president, those agencies whose funding has not yet been finalized will be shut down, including the NEH and several other humanities programs.

Both the Senate and the House have passed Interior appropriations bills that include funding for the NEH and the NEA at $155 million, a $2 million increase from FY18 levels. The House and Senate conference committee has yet to reconcile their two versions of the bill. As a result, NEH and NEA will be closed during the partial shutdown.

 

What does this mean for NEH grantees?

Congress has already appropriated the funds to cover the grants that the NEH has awarded, so grantees will receive those awards. However, our understanding from past shutdowns is that payments will be delayed while the agency is closed and that it may take additional time to clear out a backlog even after the agency reopens. The Grants.gov portal will remain open and grantees with reports due during the shutdown should still meet those reporting deadlines. Given that bills already passed in the House and Senate contain a $2 million increase over FY18, we anticipate that once the appropriations impasse is cleared, the NEH will be in a position fund a full year of grants.

 

Additional Shutdowns

The Woodrow Wilson Center, the National Park Service, and the National Archives, which houses the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), will all be closed. 

However, earlier this year, two “minibus” appropriations bills were passed and signed by President Trump. They included level funding for Title VI and Fulbright-Hays as well as funding increases for the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the Library of Congress. Therefore, these agencies and programs will remain open during the partial shutdown.

A complete overview of our priorities’ funding, as it currently stands, can be found here.

We will continue to keep you updated and will alert you if your voice has the potential to affect funding for humanities agencies and programs.


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