Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cutting Funding to the NEA

8 votes. That was the narrow vote margin of 217 to 209 by which the House approved Rep. Tim Walberg’s amendment to cut an additional $20.5 million from the already reduced budget of the National Endowment for the Arts. We were so close. All but 3 Democrats voted against the arts funding cut, but only 22 out of 241 Republicans voted against the cut. You can see how your Representative voted and watch the video excerpts from the floor debate.

2,783 tweets. That was the number of messages that our Twitter followers sent within a 24-hour period to a list of 34 House Republican members with previous strong arts support records.

62,237 messages. That was the number of messages that our grassroots arts advocates sent to Congress within the last three weeks to successfully influence two Members of Congress to in effect withdraw their amendments to completely zero-out funding for the arts.

What happens next? Congress will begin a 10-day recess tomorrow. When they return on February 28th, the U.S. Senate will begin consideration of its own version of the FY 2011 appropriations bill. During this window of time when Members of Congress are back home, we encourage you to inform your local media about the devastating impact that the House appropriations bill could have on the arts in your community. Members of Congress, especially Senators, need to hear, see, and read about it. We’ve made it easy for you by setting-up a Media Alert to help you quickly and efficiently send your opinions to the local newspapers, and radio and TV stations in your area. We’ve already matched up who your local media contacts are based on your zip code. You just need to customize the article’s talking points and hit send. As an example of an effective blog posting, you might be interested in reading a passionate letter written by the music director of the Adrian Symphony Orchestra in response to the recent floor amendment that his Congressman Tim Walberg introduced.

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