President Trump’s proposal to completely defund the United States’ federal arts and culture institutions in the 2018 budget would deprive millions of Americans access to valuable and enriching programs, PEN America said today.

On May 23, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) introduced the Trump Administration’s full budget proposal. The proposed budget eliminates funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), providing a small amount of transitional funding to provide for the process of shutting down. The defunding of these institutions would eliminate the NEA, the NEH, and the IMLS, and would withdraw a key source of funding for the CPB.

The NEA and NEH are the pre-eminent sources for federal support of the arts and humanities in the United States. The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 100,000+ libraries and 35,000 museums. The CPB is a private nonprofit foundation that provides support for public broadcasting for American radio and television stations across the country.

“President Trump’s proposed budget would be a deathblow to the organizations that safeguard America’s cultural and artistic heritage,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN America. “Their funding supports programs enjoyed by millions of people across the country. Trump’s proposed cuts would hurt your local library, your local radio station, your local community center and your local theater. PEN hopes that Congress, which holds the sole power to make the budget, will reject these cuts and ensure continued full funding for these vital institutions.”

Congress is expected to begin the budget process this summer, and must pass a budget resolution by the end of September in order to avoid a federal shutdown.

PEN America has advocated against the proposed cultural budget cuts since January. Its advocacy includes creating and co-sponsoring a March 2017 petition in support of the NEA/NEH, which PEN America delivered to the office of Rep. Louise Slaughter, the co-chair of the House Arts Caucus. More recently, in April, PEN America members from U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky to National Book Award winner Norman Rush shared their experiences with the NEA and NEH.

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT
Sarah Edkins, Director of Communications: sedkins@pen.org, +1 646.779.4830