Advocacy Articles

July 21, 2014 - 10:35am PDT

ARTS ADVOCACY WORKS ON CAPITOL HILL

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee on July 15 approved legislation on a voice vote restoring $8 million in FY15 funding cut from both the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) secured the funding restoration within the non-controversial manager’s amendment offered by Interior Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA). Heading into the committee markup, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) was also prepared to offer an amendment to restore the cuts. The proposed budget for each of these federal agencies maintains current FY14 funding of $146 million for FY15. The committee then approved the FY15 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill on a vote of 29-19, enabling it now to advance to the House floor for debate. 

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The IRA Charitable Rollover provision is permanent thanks to the passage of a bill by the U.S. House of Representatives the same week. This has been a key legislative goal for arts advocates for years, as the current cycle of expiration and reinstatement has left many donors unable to maximize their support for charitable work. Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) referenced a letter signed by Americans for the Arts, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and 850 organizations, during the floor discussion. If the Senate passes the same bill, April 15 will be the deadline for claiming charitable donations on the previous year's tax filing, and taxpayers 70.5 years of age or older may make a charitable donation by designating a charity to receive their automatic IRA distributions directly.