House and Senate negotiators agreed to a $20 million increase in funding for CPB, which distributes grants to public television stations and other entities like PBS. The CPB has been operating on a $445 million appropriation in recent years.
The National Endowment for the Arts’ funding was increased by $7.25 million to $162.25 million, the largest amount in a decade. The National Endowment for the Humanities also received a similar increase.
The funding boost is part of a $1.4 trillion spending package that will next go to the Senate, and then to President Donald Trump. The spending agreement avoids a government shutdown as funding was to lapse at the end of this week.
The increase in government money for public broadcasting and the arts is a reversal of sorts, as the Trump administration had proposed zeroing out funding for each of the last three years. But those proposals have gone nowhere as Congress has set funding levels through a series of continuing resolutions to keep the government running.
Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations, said that “while we have appreciated steady funding through 10 years of budgetary austerity, we have been under increasing pressure to do more with less in recent years.
“Technology, viewer habits and our public service missions have changed dramatically during this time, and this increase in funding to $465 million will enable local public television stations to educate more children, protect more lives and property, and equip more well-informed citizens with the tools they need to guide the world’s most important democracy,” he said.
Robert Lynch, the president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said that “these advocacy wins are a result of a years of grassroots outreach through a comprehensive network of local and state arts advocacy leaders and key communications efforts.”
He also said that funding was provided for creative arts therapies at the Veterans Affairs Department and the Department of Defense. The Justice Department also received additional funding for arts-based juvenile justice programs, and a Department of Education arts education grant program was again funded for $30 million.