January 2023 Federal Advocacy Update

Date of News Item

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We finished 2022 with some big arts advocacy wins for our members and the entire arts field in the FY 2023 Federal Omnibus Spending bill. We’re particularly proud of the 15% funding increase for both the NEA and the NEH with key congressional report language for these agencies to engage in more equitable and diverse grantmaking. 

As 2023 kicks off, Americans for the Arts has already hit the ground running on your behalf. Here in Washington, DC, all of your Members of Congress have assembled in the Capitol to set up their new offices, hire legislative staff, and vote an astounding 15 times to choose a Speaker of the House. Now that Rep. Kevin McCarthy has been elected Speaker, all House of Representative members (both newly elected and incumbents) were quickly sworn into office and soon all the House committee leadership and membership will be finalized. Despite the delay and drama in electing a Speaker, dozens of Congressional offices hosted Open House events. I’m pleased to share that our federal affairs team members Nina Ozlu TunceliTooshar Swainand I met with 29 Congressional members over the last two days. We attended multiple events and walked the halls of Congress to introduce these Congressional offices to the work of local arts agencies across the country and to thank the many returning members for their commitment to the arts.  

Here’s a list of Members of Congress that we met, along with the cities and states that they represent. If any of you would like additional information about the meetings or need assistance in making direct contact with your Congressional offices, please contact Tooshar Swain at [email protected].  

Rep. Troy Balderson (OH-central Ohio, east of Columbus)  

Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH- Columbus)  

Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY-Brooklyn)  

Sen. Chris Coons (Delaware)  

NEW Rep. Jasmine Crockett (TX-South Dallas)  

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-New Haven)  

Rep. Jake Ellzey  (TX-Fort Worth/Tarrant County)  

NEW Rep. Robert Garcia (CA-Long Beach)  

Del. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (Puerto Rico at-large)  

Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-Phoenix)  

NEW Rep. Maxwell Frost (FL-Orlando)  

Sen. Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire)  

NEW Rep. Jonathan Jackson (IL-Southside Chicago) as well as his father Jesse Jackson  

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-Houston)  

Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-Athens)  

Rep. David Joyce (OH-Cleveland) 

NEW Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-Los Angeles)  

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota)  

Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-Rio Ranch/Santa Fe)  

Rep. Mike Levin (CA- northern San Diego/southern Orange County)  

Rep. Betty McCollum (MN-St. Paul)  

Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-Clifton) 

Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-Portland)  

Sen. Jackie Rosen (Nevada)  

Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York)  

Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-Orange County)  

Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-State College)   

NEW Rep. Gabe Vazquez (NM-Las Cruces/Albuquerque) – he had an amazing Mariachi band performing that filled the halls of Congress! 

Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-North Miami)  

We’re attending more congressional events this week for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus InstituteVoto LatinoCongressional Black Caucus, and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. Stay tuned for additional information as we roll out our equitable advocacy efforts. We invite you to partner with us, as valuable constituents, to advance pro-arts legislation through Congress this year. We’ll need your help to ask your Members of Congress to join various arts caucuses, cosponsor bills, and forge coalitions to get bills passed.  I also encourage you to send letters of congratulations to your elected officials and let them know that Americans for the Arts is your national representative, who can assist with any arts-related information, including research, legislative history, policy, or contacts.  

We look forward to collaborating with you! 

Nolen V. Bivens
President and CEO
Americans for the Arts