Trump Administration’s Proposed FY18 Budget Slashes Funding for IMLS, NHPRC, NEH, NEA

The Trump Administration on May 23 released a Presidential Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2018 (under the moniker “A New Foundation for American Greatness”) that would ultimately eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The proposal also would zero out FY 2018 funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and cut funding for the National Archives and Records Administration by $16.6 million.

As noted in a May 23 memo from the National Humanities Alliance, “The Administration requests a small amount of funding for the NEH and IMLS for FY 2018--$42 million for NEH and $23 million for IMLS. For NEH, this amount represents the salaries and expenses required to shut down the agency and the amount required to honor pre-existing grant commitments (specifically matching funds). For IMLS, the money is designated for an ‘orderly close out.’”

View the NHA’s funding chart here.

Next Steps in the Budget and Appropriations Process

Now that the Administration has issued its formal request, Congress will set an overall level of discretionary spending through a Congressional Budget Resolution. The House Appropriations Committee will then assign spending levels to its twelve subcommittees, and then the subcommittees will draft individual bills. This work likely will extend through the summer.

It’s important to remember that the Administration’s budget request is only advisory, and ultimately Congress will make decisions about funding. In recent years, the IMLS, NEH, and NHPRC have received strong bipartisan and bicameral support from the House and Senate appropriations committees, including the increased funding for FY 2017 announced just three weeks ago. Although the overall fiscal constraints that the subcommittees will face are still unclear and the budget is likely to be tighter than last year, we are encouraged by this bipartisan support.

Advocacy in the Coming Months

As Congress begins it work on FY 2018, it is important for Members of Congress to hear from their constituents. Please check out the multiple ways to advocate for humanities programs on the National Humanities Alliance Take Action page. Watch the SAA website for talking points and background information on key agencies that support archives. And if you have a chance to meet with your representative in her or his local office, take it!

This is likely to be a long battle. We will keep you informed as the situation develops and let you know about key moments when you can join with SAA and our allies to make a difference.