Breaking Ranks On Arts Funding
Letter to Gingrich from 28 GOP members says they'll support arts agency
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 8) -- A group of Republican House members have indicated in a letter to House Speaker Newt Gingrich that they will support funding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Twenty-eight Republican congressmen signed the letter, released on Monday, including New York Reps. Rick Lazio and Benjamin Gilman and Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa.
"This federal seed money has bolstered the arts industry, supporting nearly a million jobs across the nation," the letter said. "In return, the arts have given back to the federal government, producing $3.4 billion in revenue."
In this year's budget proposal, the Republicans allocated only $10 million for the NEA in the next fiscal year. This amount would be just enough to close down the agency. President Bill Clinton, a strong supporter of the NEA, has asked for $160 million, while congressional Democrats have requested $99.5 million.
Conservative Republicans have long opposed the arts endowment, but as the letter to Gingrich indicated, the opposition is far from unanimous.