Like funding for Meals on Wheels, funding for arts grants and public programs like NPR and PBS amount to an objectively small portion of the federal budget, but nonetheless, President Donald Trump has been set on defunding these programs, all while regularly taking trips to Mar-a-Lago and letting his wife and children travel wherever they please on the taxpayer’s dime. The costs of just one weekend trip amounts to roughly $3 million, according to analysis by POLITICO.
But this week, Congressional Democrats managed to save these programs at least until September 2017. Congress is slated to vote on a spending bill that will ensure funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
As a result of the spending bill to keep the government funded for the current fiscal year, CPB’s budget will remain the same, at $445 million, and the NEA and NEH will actually see a small budget increase to $150 million. Funding for arts programs helps youths in low-income communities receive balanced educations, while access to public broadcasting is already severely limited in rural areas.
Gives NEA & NEH $149M each—a $1.9M increase. I fought to boost funding to support arts ed. and artists, musicians, culture & tourism in #NM
— Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) May 2, 2017
Still, Trump is slated to introduce a budget for the next financial year later this month, and has been clear about his goals to strip arts programs, environmental protection programs, and public broadcasting of funding.
Funding for these programs is already marginal, but in disadvantaged communities across the country, have yielded noticeably positive results — particularly for the very groups of people that voted for Trump in the 2016 election.
In recent months, Trump’s proposed budgets have revealed the truth about his priorities, which have never been to uplift his supporters but promote his financial interests. And additionally, his failures to make good on securing funding for his border wall or eliminating and replacing the Affordable Care Act have unraveled his claims of being an effective dealmaker, too.