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Budget Cuts Impact Humanities

Most federal humanities programs received major cuts in FY 2011, and new budget allocations released by the House indicate that FY 2012 could result in even larger across-the-board reductions. As work on FY 2012 appropriations in Congress moves forward, you can help by contacting your congressional representatives. Here are two programs that directly impact many AAA members:

Title VI/Fulbright-Hays International Education Programs
The U.S. Department of Education just cancelled all new Fulbright-Hays International Education Program grants, stating: “Congressional action on the FY 2011 budget substantially reduced funds available for grants from the Title VI Programs, including new grants under the DDRA (Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad) Program. Therefore, no new awards will be made under the DDRA Program in FY 2011.”
Please write your Members of Congress and ask them to restore FY 2012 funding for the Department of Education’s International Education and Foreign Language Studies programs-Title VI and Fulbright-Hays- to the FY 2010 enacted level of $125.9 million.

Ask Congress to Support the Humanities – Restore NEH FY12 Funding
Please write your Members of Congress and ask them to support the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by requesting $167.5 million in FY12 funding for the agency. This would restore NEH funding to the same level the agency received in FY10. As you may know, the final, FY11 year-end Continuing Resolution (CR) set NEH funding for the current year at $155 million–a $12.5 million cut from the FY10 level.  In the FY12 Budget Proposal, President Obama has requested $146 million for the agency in FY12.  If enacted, this figure would represent an even deeper, $21 million cut from the FY10 level.

The National Humanities Alliance has template messages in which you can personalize for your congressional representative. Please contact your representative today!

Examples of Humanities Teaching and Research with Societal Benefits

AAA needs your help! Many of our members receive federally funded grants to conduct humanities research and education that have produced direct or indirect benefits for society. AAA is helping the National Humanities Alliance in continuing efforts to articulate the value of the humanities in response to the proposed spending cuts by Congress and the Administration to the National Endowment for the Humanities and other federal funding for humanities teaching and research in Fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

These proposed cuts are a very serious threat, particularly in an environment where Members of Congress are looking hard for ways to reduce federal spending. We must be prepared to defend federal support for the humanities with facts and examples of how they contribute to: the classroom; local, state or national public policy arenas; public knowledge creation; the preservation of history and heritage; the economy; global challenges and national security.

Please drop us a comment to this blog post with your examples of primarily federally supported humanities research and education that have resulted in nationally significant and demonstrable economic educations, social, policy, and/or national security benefits. Ideally, these examples will be mature research programs or historical examples (where the studies or activities are complete). We are especially interested in examples with value demonstrated by strong qualitative anecdotes and evidence or quantitative data.

Thank you in advance for your assistance with this critical task for the future of funding humanities research and education.

Write to your Congressional Representative Now

This just in over the newswire:

Appropriations Committee Introduces Three Week Continuing Resolution Bill will Prevent Government Shutdown, Cut $6 Billion in Spending
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government at current rates for three weeks –until April 8 – while cutting $6 billion in spending. The legislation (H.J. Res 48) is the second short-term funding extension to prevent a government shutdown while Congressional negotiations continue on a long-term plan to keep the government running through the end of the fiscal year.

“A government shutdown is not an option, period. While short term funding measures are not the preferable way to fund the government, we must maintain critical programs and services for the American people until Congress comes to a final, long-term agreement. This legislation also includes $6 billion in spending cuts – a $2 billion cut for every week of funding – to continue our efforts to rein in spending and put a dent in our massive, $1.5 trillion deficit,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. 

The cuts in H.J. Res 48 include funding rescissions, reductions, and program terminations. The bill also eliminates earmark accounts within the Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science, Financial Services/General Government, and Interior subcommittee jurisdictions. 

All of the spending cuts in this legislation were also included in  H.R.1 – which was passed by the House – and many of these reductions and terminations were supported by President Obama in his annual  budget requests. In addition, while not being approved by the Senate  this week, H.R.1 garnered more Senate votes than the Senate Democrats’ competing proposal.

This short term CR is expected to be considered by the House next week. To view the text of the legislation, please visit: www.rules.house.gov

A summary of the program reductions and terminations in H.J.Res. 48 follows:   
H.J.Res 48 reduces or terminates a total of 25 programs for a savings of $3.5 billion.

  • Preserve America (National Park Service) = -$4.6 million. This grant program – which promotes “heritage tourism” – was not funded in the President’s budget request. 
  • Save America’s Treasures grant program (National Park Service) = -$14.8 million. The program – originally slated as a two year initiative to commemorate the year 2000 Millennium – was not funded in the President’s budget request. 
  • Climate Effects Network – Science Application (U.S. Geological Survey) = -$10.5 million. This program to “provide data for forecasting the effects of climate change” was not funded in the President’s budget request.
  • Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade Funding (EPA) = -$5 million. This funding was provided by the last Congress for the EPA to assist Congress in enacting the Cap and Trade legislation. This program was not funded in the President’s budget request.
  • Local Government Climate Change Grants (EPA) = -$10 million. This program was not funded in the President’s budget request. In addition, the Administration has indicated that this program lacks focus and  effectiveness, and is too broad to allow fair competition for grants.
  • Targeted Airshed Grants (EPA) = -$10 million. The program funds diesel retrofits and replacements for pollution reduction. Funding for similar programs is already available, and the program was not funded in the President’s budget request. 
  • Construction Funding Rescission (National Park Service) = -$25 million. This cut rescinds unobligated balances from completed construction projects.
  • Wildland Fire Suppression Rescission (U.S. Forest Service) = -$200 million. These funds were carried over from last year, and were not needed or used for last year’s fire suppression efforts. This rescission was included Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  • Single Family Housing (Department of Agriculture) = -$144 million. This reduction was requested in the President’s budget request. These  funds for this unsubsidized loan guarantee are no longer necessary due to the authorization of a borrower fee. In addition, this reduction was included in the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  • Customs and Border Protection – Construction (Department of Homeland Security) = -$107 million. This rescission of unneeded construction and planning funding was requested by the agency, and was part of the Senate Democrats’ recent CR proposal. 
  • Emergency Steel Loans (Commerce Department) = -$48 million. The CR rescinds the remaining balances from prior year appropriations for the Emergency Steel, Oil, and Gas Guaranteed Loan Program Account. Only three loans have been made under this program and no new loans have been made since 2003.  Similar rescissions were proposed in the President’s budget request.
  • Public Telecommunications Facilities and Construction (Commerce Department = -$19 million. The mandated conversions of public television stations to digital broadcasting and other mandated conversion efforts are now completed and the funds are no longer necessary. This termination was requested in the President’s budget request.
  • Census Rescission (Commerce Department) = -$1.74 billion. These funds were appropriated in Fiscal Year 2010 to conduct the 2010 Decennial Census.  The Census is complete and these balances are no longer needed.
  • Career Pathways Innovation Fund (Labor Department) = -$125 million. This reduction was included in the President’s budget request, as well as the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal. This discretionary funding is not necessary as the program received $500 million in mandatory funding provided in the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”
  • Community Service Employment for Older Americans (Labor Department) = -$225 million. This funding was originally provided as one-time funds. The funding was not included in the President’s budget request, nor the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  • State Health Access Grants (Health and Human Services Department) = -$75 million. Only 13 states receive funding through this program, and the program was terminated in the President’s budget request.
  • Flu Funding (Health and Human Services Department) = -$276 million. The bill reduces this “no-year” pandemic influenza funding, while continuing approximately $65 million in annual flu funding. There is sufficient carry-over funding available to the agency to cover any necessary long-term costs. This “no-year” funding was eliminated in the President’s request, and in the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  •  “Parklawn” Building Lease (Health and Human Services) = -$35 million. The bill reduces funding for the Public Health Service building in Rockville, MD. The reduction was included in the President’s budget request, and in the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting = -$50 million. The bill terminates the “Fiscal Stabilization Fund” which provides funding increases to public broadcasting stations to offset reduced public donations. The bill also terminates the “Radio Interconnection” project that was completed in 2010. These programs were also terminated in the President’s budget request as well as the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  • Internet Technology Funds (Social Security Administration) = -$200 million. The CR reduces carry-over funding for information technology and telecommunication activities. The funds in this account do not expire – essentially creating a “slush fund” which totaled over $825 million at the beginning of fiscal year 2011. The SSA budget requested use of only $200 million of this funding this year, and the reduction of $200 million in this bill leaves more than sufficient funding available. This reduction was also included in the Senate Democrats’ recent CR proposal.
  • Brownfields Redevelopment (Housing and Urban Development Department) = -$17.5 million. All activities undertaken by this program are also eligible for funding through the Community Development Block Grant. No funds were requested for this program in the President’s budget request.
  • Railroad Safety Technology Program (Federal Railroad Administration) = -$50 million. The Department has not released significant grants under this program, and the technology is not yet fully developed. No funds were requested for this program in the President’s request. 
  • Chief Administrative Officer – Salaries and Expenses (House of Representatives) = -$1.5 million. This CR reduces 38 unneeded and unfilled House operations positions, and reduces contractor funding within the House of Representatives.
  • Library of Congress – Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission = -$0.75 million. This commission is no longer in existence and therefore no funds are necessary.
  • International Fund for Ireland (State Department) = -$17 million. This funding was expected to end last year, and the program’s annual report from last year states that they would not be seeking further contributions after 2010. This funding also was not requested in the President’s budget request.

    Earmark Terminations: 

    The CR eliminates $2.6 billion in earmark account funding that was automatically renewed in the CR approved by the previous Congress in December. In previous years, this funding would have gone to earmarked programs and projects. These earmark cuts include:
    Agriculture
    -$24 million – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Salaries and Expenses 
    -$37 million – Natural Resources Conservation Service – Conservation Operations
    -$30 million – Natural Resources Conservation Service – Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations
    -$3 million – Rural Community Development Grants
    -$3 million – National Center for Natural Products
    -$3 million – Agricultural Pest Facility 
    -$10 million – Various Agricultural Grants 
    -$115 million – Agriculture Research Service
    -$122 million – National Institute of Food and Agriculture – Research and Education 
    -$11 million – National Institute of Food and Agriculture – Extension
    Commerce/Justice/Science
    -$5 million – International Trade Administration – Operations and Administration
    -$2 million – Minority Business Development
    -$20 million –NIST – Scientific and Technology Research 
    -$47 million – NIST – Research Facility Construction 
    -$99 million – NOAA – Operations, Research, and Facilities 
    -$18 million – NOAA – Procurement Acquisition and Construction 
    -$185 million – State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance – Byrne projects 
    -$91 million – Juvenile Justice Programs 
    -$169 million – Community Oriented Policing Services – Technology projects
    -$25 million – Community Oriented Policing Services – Methamphetamine projects
    -$63 million – NASA – Cross Agency Support
    Financial Services/General Government
    -$3 million – Community Development Financial Institutions
    -$2 million – ONDCP – Federal Drug Control Programs
    -$2 million – District of Columbia – Chief Financial Officer (federal funds)
    -$894 million – GSA Federal Buildings Fund – Construction
    -$130 million – GSA Federal Buildings Fund – Repair and Alterations
    -$16 million – National Archives and Records – Repairs and Restoration
    -$59 million – Small Business Administration – Salaries and Expenses
    Interior
    -$1 million – Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – Management of Lands and Resources
    -$2 million – BLM – Construction
    -$3 million – BLM – Land Acquisition 
    -$12 million – Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – Resource Management 
    -$10 million – FWS – Construction
    -$22 million – FWS – Land Acquisition
    -$10 million – National Park Service (NPS) – Historic Preservation – Save Americas Treasures
    -$6 million – NPS National Recreation and Preservation – Statutory or Contractual aid
    -$23 million – NPS – Construction
    -$17 million – NPS – Land Acquisition
    -$7 million – U.S. Geological Survey – Surveys, Investigations, and Research
    -$1 million – Bureau of Indian Affairs – Operation of Indian Programs
    -$1 million – Office of Insular Affairs – Assistance to Territories
    -$6 million – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Science and Technology
    -$26 million – EPA – Environmental Programs and Management
    -$1 million – EPA – Buildings and Facilities
    -$172 million – EPA – Tribal Assistance Grants
    -$8 million – EPA – “Hunter’s Point” project
    -$0.4 million – Forest Service (FS) – Forest and Rangeland Research
    -$6 million – FS – State and Private Forestry
    -$1 million – FS – National Forest System
    -$7 million – FS – Capital Improvement and Maintenance
    -$30 million – FS – Land Acquisition 
    -$6 million – FS – Wildland Fire Management

Please write to your congressional representative to tell them why these programs are critical to your work today!

Humanities at the Forefront of Congressional Vote on National Budget

The Annual Meeting for the National Humanities Alliance took place on March 7, 2011 at George Washington University, followed by Humanities Advocacy Day on March 8 at Capitol Hill. The Annual Meeting was an opportunity to provide concrete ways to exemplify and frame arguments to support the humanities, skills meeting participants would need for the following Advocacy day.

AAA’s Director of Public Affairs, Damon Dozier was featured in a three member panel that exemplified the field of humanities. Dozier emphasized the importance of education through the biological sciences and cultural perceptions o f race. Through the RACE: Are We So Different? public education program, AAA has spurred dialogue across the nation to embrace cultural differences and rethink preconceived notions of race and racism in the United States.

Bill Davis, AAA’s Executive Director, joined NHA’s national delegation that met with congressional members that hold stature within congressional committees. Damon Dozier and Joslyn Osten, Marketing & Communications Manager, joined first-time constituent lobbyist, Hollis Clayson of Northwestern University in meeting with the representatives of Illinois. While all meetings with congressional staffers were fruitful, feedback led to the conclusion that the representatives who have a history of supporting humanities will work out the best possible solution to minimize the financial impact of the national budget on humanities funding.

Although NHA’s Advocacy Day was a success, lobbying for humanities funding cannot be completed in just one day. Congress will be voting this week and in the coming weeks on bills and revisions to settle the national budget. NHA and AAA need your help in communicating the critical need for funding the research and grant-related programming offered in your communities today. Contact your congressional representative now to demonstrate your support for humanities and visit NHA’s website to stay tuned in to the latest budgetary developments.

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