The Biden administration’s proposed funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is drawing rave reviews from the AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees.
For fiscal year 2022, the administration is proposing $201 million in funding for the NEA, another $177.5 million for the NEH, and an advance appropriation of $475 million for the CPB. That stands in stark contrast to former President Trump’s unsuccessful attempts to eliminate all three agencies.
“We are excited to see the Biden administration take a promising step towards the big bold action needed to put creative professionals back to work and build the arts back better,” said DPE president Jennifer Dorning. “In proposing $201 million in funding for the NEA, President Biden has provided a path for the agency to quickly get to a funding level of $331 million, which amounts to one dollar per capita and, adjusted for inflation, is the high water mark for funding historically. Additionally, we are also excited to see a proposed increase in funding for the NEH and commend the continued full funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”
NEA and NEH funding, she said, “is critical to putting union creative professionals to work in small towns and big cities all across the United States. The arts are also important to local economies more broadly through the spillover effect of spending by those who engage with performances and events. Union creative professionals also play a key role in carrying out the mission of the CPB.”
The DPE is a coalition of 24 unions, including SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, Actors’ Equity, the American Federation of Musicians, the WGA East, the American Guild of Musical Artists, the American Guild of Variety Artists, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and the Guild of Italian American Actors.
“This past year showed that the federal arts agencies have the capacity to distribute a high level of funding effectively and we should utilize that capacity as we build a more prosperous, sustainable economy for all,” Dorning said. She also applauded the Biden administration’s “commitment to racial equity and justice, which can be seen throughout the fiscal year 2022 budget.”
Earlier this year, the DPE and its affiliated entertainment industry unions, including the Directors Guild, released a policy agenda for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the arts, entertainment and media, which included attaching DEI objectives to federal arts funding and establishing chief diversity officers at each of the federal arts agencies.
“As Congress works with the Biden administration to approve the NEA, NEH, and CPB appropriations requests,” she said, “we urge them to utilize our policy agenda to achieve DEI objectives in the arts, entertainment, and media industries. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration and Congress on policies that create better workplaces and industries for professionals.”