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Ms. Slaughter. Involvement.
Mr. Hoekstra. -involvement and participation in the arts. That's correct.
Ms. Slaughter. You know, there's a school in Raleigh, North Carolina that had the lowest scores in the state. And they wanted to be heavily an arts school and art program.
There is a direct correlation, interestingly enough, between dance and math. There is a study from the university in Irvine, California that says that piano instruction is better than computer instruction in showing the kind of relationship and kind of thinking, linear thinking, that you have to do to be able to understand math and science. I mean, these are the things we want. And, if I may
Mr. Hoekstra. Yes. Would you move the money into arts and education?
Ms. Slaughter. Excuse me?
Mr. Hoekstra. Would you move the money into an arts and education fund?
Ms. Slaughter. Would I move money into an arts and education fund?
Mr. Hoekstra. Yes, which would include NEA's money, which would foster involvement, rather than exposure?
Ms. Slaughter. I think the NEA is critically important to us. I think that that agency has been singled out. As Mr. Clay said, why in the world are we not spending this kind of time on cutting out the sugar subsidy? I mean, the sugar subsidy
Mr. Hoekstra. would join him.
Ms. Slaughter. Of course, I will tell you that there's no way the sugar subsidy has the support of 79 percent of the American people.
Mr. Hoekstra. Yes. I think Mr. Clay said if the sugar gets money, so should the NEA. But I would be more than willing to go with him after sugar, tobacco. And I told Ms. Mink last week I'd also go after the Defense Department with her.
Ms. Slaughter. My point
Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you. We're going to go on.
Mr. Clay. Mr. Chairman, you asked us to correct the record.
Mr. Hoekstra. Okay.
Mr. Clay. I did not say that if one got it, the other. I said it should not be the criteria for funding.
Mr. Hoekstra. All right. Good thing.
Ms. Slaughter. But don't cut out something that has that great a benefit. We really don't make these kind
Mr. Hoekstra. We'll talk about the benefit in the NEA later on.
Ms. Slaughter. All right.
Mr. Hoekstra. Representative Doolittle, who is here representing the CATs, the Conservative Action Team. Is that correct?
Mr. Doolittle. Yes, sir, that is, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you. Welcome.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. JOHN DOOLITTLE, A CONGRESSMAN FROM THE
Mr. Doolittle. I appreciate the chance to be here, Chairman Hoekstra and Chairman Riggs, distinguished members of the subcommittees. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on the future on the National Endowment for the Arts.
Today I am here, as you mentioned, in my role as Co-chairman of the House Conservative Action Team, or CATs, which is the largest Republican organization within the House Republican conference. The members of the CATs organization are united in their steadfast opposition to continued federal funding for the NEA. Two years ago CATs and the family caucus joined together to defeat a rule on the FY '96 interior bill in order to register our opposition to the NEA. As a result, the House Republican leadership forged a formal agreement between CATS, NEA supporters, and key appropriators concerning the future of the NEA. It was agreed that the NEA would receive $99.5 million in both Fiscal Years 1996 and 1997 and then zero funding in FY 1998.
We have honored two-thirds of the agreement thus far. Fulfilling the agreement by eliminating all funding for the NEA in the upcoming budget is one of CATs' highest legislative priorities for this year.
In the coming debate over the future of the NEA, we do not need to unnecessarily dwell on the fact that the NEA continues to use federal tax dollars to subsidize works of art that are obscene or pornographic. We may even choose to overlook Chairman Hoekstra's finding that the NEA sends one-third of all its direct grants to just six cities with already established arts communities. And we don't need to overly focus on individual grant recipients, like the one who collected $1,500 in federal tax dollars for this poem, “Light,” which, by the way, was not the title of the poem or a typo. It was the poem.
The debate over whether the NEA should be eliminated or expanded is about more than whether some NEA grant recipients have offended the taxpayers who made such grants possible. Clearly they have. The fight over NEA funding can be understood more properly as a snapshot of the debate that began at the time of our nation's founding. What is the proper role of the federal government? In our view, the Congress of the United States has no authority to take money from federal taxpayers to give to artists, singers, and conductors, no matter how talented or popular they may be. In fact, the framers debated and rejected federal support for the arts.
Even if we were convinced that the Constitution permitted spending on the arts, our opposition to federal funding would remain. Congress is trying to balance the budget, for the first time in a generation. And to achieve that goal, we are going to need to set priorities and to make tough choices.
Why would we even think about restructuring entitlement programs until we have eliminated nonessential federal spending programs, such as the NEA? And how can the President justify a budget that increases funding for the NEA by 37 percent while giving the federal agency in charge of cancer and diabetes research only a 2 percent fund?
The arts will survive, if not flourish, Mr. Chairman, without the NEA for the exact reason proponents use to justify the agency's existence. The American people appreciate and contribute to the arts. The NEA's budget is barely one percent of the nearly $10 billion that private citizens, foundations, and corporations in America voluntarily contribute to the arts each year. In fact, the NEA's financial contribution to the arts is infinitesimal when compared with other government contributions. The NEA is just a minor, indeed five percent, of the federal government subsidies to the arts and humanities. And state and local agencies give nearly ten times as much as the NEA does.
The biggest federal subsidy to the arts can be found in the Tax Code. The Treasury forgoes more than one billion dollars in tax revenuc each year as a result of the government's effort to encourage arts-giving.
During our fight to mend our country's broken welfare system, many defenders of federal intervention argued that the private sector was ill-prepared and uncommitted to helping former welfare recipients find work. Although the early returns proved quite the opposite, this fear tactic is being employed again to save the NEA bureaucracy.
The American people know better, Mr. Chairman. The American Arts Council estimated that the arts are a $37 billion industry. Shortly after actor Alec Baldwin and a handful of celebrities came to Capital Hill to defend the NEA's $99 million budget, it was reported that Hollywood had spent over $100 million on the Academy Awardsrelated activities alone.
Let's face it. The arts community has some wealthy friends. It's time for the NEA to seek support from them, instead of America's working families.
Two years ago Congress cut the NEA's budget by 40 percent. Despite howls that the arts in America were doomed, private philanthropy has caused arts attendance rates, employment in the arts, and total arts spending to actually increase over this period. It's clear that a healthy American arts community can and will flourish without this tiny Washington agency.
In “What is Art?" Leo Tolstoy wrote, "Art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.” As we debate the future of the NEA, let us recall
that the beauty and power we find in art come not from the benevolence of federal bureaucrats but from the brilliance of an individual's free and creative expression. We should free artists of government intervention and protect taxpayers by voting to eliminate the NEA this year.
[The statement of Mr. Doolittle follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE HON. JOHN DOOLITTLE, A CONGRESSMAN FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA - SEE APPENDIX G
Mr. Hoekstra. Thank
STATEMENT OF THE HON. JERROLD NADLER, A CONGRESSMAN FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. Nadler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittees for the opportunity to testify this morning.
I strongly urge the reauthorization of the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA improves access to the arts, encourages creativity, stimulates private contributions, and benefits the economies of local communities all across America. It is an agency with a vital purpose, and it deserves to be properly authorized. The NEA funds music festivals, nationwide dance tours, major museum exhibitions, children's choirs, and efforts to bring opera to rural communities and to elementary schools.
Some typical examples of recent projects supported by the NEA of the type with which you may not be familiar are a program to create a national model for an integrated kindergarten through sixth grade arts curriculum to improve learning in all subjects and offer new ways to engage students.
An initiative to provide music instruction for financially disadvantaged minority children in public schools and a project to produce and broadcast telecasts of the Public Television series “Live in Lincoln Center,” thus making it possible for people in Kansas and Wisconsin, not just New York City, to enjoy Lincoln Center performances.
Helping children learn, reaching out to disadvantaged communities, boosting the economy, and providing national access to great performances, this is what the NEA is doing in 1997 to support the arts and to improve America and why Congress must continue to fund and should reauthorize the NEA.
The economic benefits of the NEA are tremendous. The multiplier effect is great. Federal investment in the arts stimulates economic growth and creates jobs. The arts world has estimated that the $116 million provided by the NEA in 1992 fostered economic activity totaling $1.68 billion, a 20-fold return in jobs and other services.
Studies show that the nonprofit arts industry alone generates $36.8 billion annually in economic activity, supports 1.3 million jobs, and returns $3.4 billion to the federal government in income taxes. Very few federal
programs cost so little and return so much.
Furthermore, the Endowment's matching grant requirement has proven to be one of the most successful mechanisms for encouraging and generating private contributions to the arts.
In FY 94, NEA grants generated over $1 billion in private contributions in addition to the matching component of those contributions that matched NEA grants. Without the NEA acting as a stimulus, private funding would likely decrease substantially.
There are those who argue that the NEA should not be reauthorized because a very small number of grants given prior to the enactment of strict quality control measures were controversial.
To argue that we must eliminate the NEA on the basis of past controversy is absurd. It's like calling for the elimination of federal programs for cancer research because a few grants did not result in a cure.
Some people believe that federal arts funding only benefits a few select cities, we've seen that testimony this morning - like New York. This is absurd. In fact, NEA grants benefit people from all over America. People in Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, New Mexico all benefit from NEA funding.
Without the NEA, the Lincoln Center, I assure you, would survive. Traveling and touring dance and theater groups might not. In communities nationwide, the NEA stimulates local economies and enriches the lives of Americans every day.
Certainly a great deal of NEA funding is given to grantees in New York and other art centers, but much of these funds are then distributed throughout the nation. For example, a recent grant to the Metropolitan Opera Guild of New York is listed as a grant to New York because the office of the Metropolitan Opera Guild is in New York. But the grant is for a teacher/training project in the western states, not for New York.
In any event, it is, of course, true that New York and Los Angeles and some other cities are centers of the arts and that talented people seeking careers in the arts come to New York and the other arts centers from all over the country and all over the world.
To argue that the NEA should not be reauthorized because a disproportionate share of the funding is distributed to New York and other centers of the arts is equally absurd. It is comparable to arguing that federal wheat subsidies should be eliminated because not a penny of it goes to the many congressional districts in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other large cities. And all of it, not merely a disproportionate share, mind you, every penny of it, goes to states where wheat is grown. It's really shocking.
Now let me say a word about the authorization process. In general, I support the role of authorizing committees in overseeing the direction of federal agencies and enacting productive policy changes in authorizing legislation. But when the authorization of popular and effective agencies, like the NEA, lapses, it sometimes becomes necessary, and it has in the past, to appropriate funding even without authorization.
Through most of the 1980s, the Pentagon was funded without authorization. We have done it for the last few years with the NEA. I hope it is not necessary to do it again.
Now, some may object to reauthorization on the basis of an agreement in the last Congress that was never enacted into law to phase out the NEA over a two or three-year period. I suggest that this so-called agreement, which may have been considered by a few members, which may have been agreed to by a few members of the previous Congress, has no binding effect on members who were not party to it, which is most of us, or on this Congress.
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