White House Calls Cuts to Elderly, Arts “Compassionate”


Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be cut entirely under Trump’s budget plan, and the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities also would be eliminated. CPB received $445 million in federal funding in the last fiscal year. The NEA and NEH received about $148 million each. (The federal budget is roughly $4 trillion.)

“There is no viable substitute for federal funding that ensures Americans have universal access to public media’s education and informational programming and services,” CPB President and CEO Patricia Harrison said in a statement. “The elimination of federal funding to CPB would initially devastate and ultimately destroy public media’s role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions – for Americans in both rural and urban communities.”

CPB President and CEO Patricia Harrison. (Credit: Source.)

Public media “is one of America’s best investments,” Harrison continues. “At approximately $1.35 per citizen per year, it pays huge dividends to every American. From expanding opportunity, beginning with proven children’s educational content to providing essential news and information as well as ensuring public safety and homeland security through emergency alerts, this vital investment strengthens our communities. It is especially critical for those living in small towns and in rural and underserved areas.”

NEA Chairman Jane Chu expressed similar reservations. “We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every Congressional District in the nation,” she said. “We understand that the President’s budget request is a first step in a very long budget process; as part of that process we are working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prepare information they have requested. At this time, the NEA continues to operate as usual and will do so until a new budget is enacted by Congress.”

NEA Chairman Jane Chu. (Credit: Source.)

In a statement of his own, NEH Chairman William D. Adams said the agency is “greatly saddened to learn of this proposal for elimination, as NEH has made significant contributions to the public good over its 50-year history.  But as an agency of the executive branch, we answer to the President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Therefore, we must abide by this budget request as this initial stage of the federal budget process gets under way.”

NEH grants “have reached into every part of the country and provided humanities programs and experiences that benefit all of our citizens,” Adams continues. “Residents in Whitesburg, Kentucky are preserving the photographs and films of their local Appalachian region through Appalshop cultural center. Veterans returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan connect with classic texts and the public through Aquila Theatre. Students, teachers and historians have access to the papers of Founding Father George Washington. Through these projects and thousands of others, the National Endowment for the Humanities has inspired and supported what is best in America.”

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