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From: John King/CNN White House Correspondent
In: Washington, D.C.
Posted: 6-18-97

Subject: Hillary Clinton Defends Federal Arts Funding

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton defended federal funding for the National Endowment for Arts on Wednesday and said a $10 million agency budget pushed by some congressional Republicans was "inadequate if not embarrassing."

Mrs. Clinton delivered the criticism at an East Room reception honoring the Friends of Art and Preservation in Embassies. The group raises private money to buy artwork and pay for restorations in U.S. embassies around the world.

Some Republicans have vowed to abolish the NEA, or at least kill all federal funding of the agency. On Tuesday, a House Appropriations subcommittee voted 6 to 5, along party lines, to reduce the NEA budget from $99.5 million this year to $10 million next year.

"I want to reiterate strongly the administration's strong support for the National Endowment for the Arts," Mrs. Clinton said. "A budget of only $10 million for a federal arts agency is totally inadequate if not embarrassing."

She predicted that a cut in federal support for the arts would would result in decreased donations from the private sector as well. "When you think of our nation's rich cultural resources, such a severe cut will also result in decreased support from the private sector," Mrs. Clinton said.

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