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Conservative Republicans Propose Eliminating Arts And Culture Funding

Nea Funding

First Posted: 01/21/11 04:58 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:25 PM ET

It happened first in schools and is now proposed on a national scale - the continued cutting down of arts and culture funding.

A group of conservative Republicans, called the Republican Study Committee, revealed a new plan on Thursday to cut federal funding for arts down to zero. This means the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities would be left in the cold. Not to mention the potential hit at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Run by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the over 150-person group's plan, the Spending Reduction Act of 2011, would "save" $167.5 million pulled from the NEA and the Humanities endowment and $445 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. They are forecasting that this erasure of cultural funding would reduce federal spending by $2.5 trillion over the next decade.

Considering that arts and culture spending has already been reduced down to such a minuscule portion, it should come as no surprise that the Republican Study Committee has cornered the arts as a less valued endowment. And this is not the first time that arts endowments have had to fight to keep afloat. The NEA was targeted similarly in the 1990s by Republicans looking to cut "wasteful" spending.

When one thinks about all the organizations funded by these endowments, it's difficult to see the NEA as so easy to brush off. The American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, a touring Shakespeare troupe, music and poetry initiatives, and arts education programs across the country are all amongst those that would be affected by the funding cuts.

As ARTINFO reports, though, perhaps a plea of the unemployment variety will perk up more ears than listing the organizations in jeopardy. "Robert Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts,... told the LA Times that federal investment in the arts helps to sustain 5.7 million jobs nationwide."

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Filed by Nicole Campoy-Leffler  |