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McCollum, House Democrats Speak Out Against Proposed Cuts to EPA, Arts and Humanities

February 28, 2017
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.), Ranking Member of the House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, and House Democrats used Tuesday’s Subcommittee’s Members’ Day hearing to speak out strongly against cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and to oppose cuts to the arts and humanities.

“President Donald Trump's proposal for a devastating 25 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency is foolhardy and completely unacceptable,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “House Democrats will stand strong against President Trump’s backwards budget. We must protect the health and safety of our families by safeguarding clean air and clean water.”

Recent media reports have also indicated that the Trump administration is contemplating entirely eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

“The National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities support vibrant cultural and educational opportunities for people of all ages that bind us together as one Nation and one people,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “We must come together to stop President Trump from slashing this important investment in jobs, education, and our quality of life.”

As part of the Subcommittee’s Members’ Day, House Democrats highlighted key programs at the EPA, the NEA, and the NEH that help keep American communities safe, strong, and moving forward:

EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Programs, Cleanup Grants Are Vital

Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) addressed the Subcommittee on a variety of issues, including safe drinking water, clean air and land, and environmental justice.

“The EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is critical as it helps communities maintain safe and effective water infrastructure and affords states the flexibility to fund their highest-priorities,” Representative Jackson-Lee said.

NEA Helps Servicemembers, Veterans, and Military Families

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, spoke specifically about the importance of the NEA in enabling servicemembers, veterans and military families to benefit from creative arts therapies and community arts activities.

“The NEA has expanded their reach to help servicemembers who have been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other psychological health conditions,” Representative Slaughter said. “The Creative Forces program places creative arts therapies at the core of patient centered care in military medical facilities and invests in research on the impacts and benefits of these innovative treatment methods.”

Arts Funding Important to Strong Education System

Representative Alma Adams (D-N.C.) used her experience as a professional artist and arts educator to explain the importance of robust NEA funding to education at all levels of schooling.

“Advocates and researchers have shown that the arts have a positive impact on a young person’s development. The NEA is a critical component to ensuring strong arts education in our schools,” Representative Adams said. “In order to continue to ensure that our students remain competitive in a global economy, we must continue to fund the arts.”

Humanities Funding Has Broad Impact Across America

Representative David Price (D-N.C.), co-chair of the Congressional Humanities Caucus, spoke to the Subcommittee about the role played by the NEH.

“As co-chair of the Congressional Humanities Caucus, a responsibility I share with co-chair Representative Leonard Lance, and as a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus, I am proud to support the missions of the NEA and NEH,” Representative Price said. “Instead of eliminating our government’s modest level of support for these agencies, we should hold steadfast in our investment, which is one of the most efficient we make in terms of leveraging private, non-profit, and corporate dollars. These programs are critically important culturally, and they are the foundation of an arts and humanities community that supports millions of jobs.”