It was so great to see many of you at AWP, and for those of you I was not able to connect with, I hope we will be able to soon.
I am writing today as a follow up to that meeting, but also to lay out some information about the current climate surrounding the National Endowment for the Arts. I hope you walk away from this email with some clear next steps about how you can help support the NEA and literature.
I am sure many of you saw the article in the New York Times that discussed the leaked memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which named the NEA, the NEH, as well as other social programs as ones to be cut. These programs were nearly identical to the ones mentioned earlier in the year. In addition, Congressional Quarterly reported that the administration will release a “skinny budget” on March, 14. A “skinny budget” is an outline of the full budget and will address major budgetary priorities and changes. Between now and March 14, we must be aggressive in making our voices heard in support of the National Endowment for the Arts.
As we mentioned at the AWP town hall, LitNet’s strategy will be two-fold: we will focus on grassroots efforts, providing support to our members as they engage their constituencies in advocacy work, and we will directly target a few key states and congressional districts.
GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY AND MEMBER SUPPORT
- What you can and cannot do as a 501c3. Many of our members are 501(c)3s and there are governing rules on what nonprofits can and can’t do with regards to advocacy and lobbying. Here is a copy of a PowerPoint breaking down some of those rules.
- Over the next few weeks we will be sending around talking points, messaging, scripts, and letter templates for you to share with your constituencies that express support for the National Endowment for the Arts and more specifically the literature field.
- On March 3, we will be circulating a draft letter, which we hope will be signed by all LitNet members to be distributed to all members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
- Using the final draft of this letter, we will provide a template for all member orgs to send their own letters to each of the members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as a template for you to share with your constituents.
- Our strategy is to target Republican members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior. These are subcommittees that will, in large part, determine the final budget for the NEA. It will be particularly important for you to engage any of your constituents who are located in particular Congressional districts.
- For instance, we will be targeting Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the Senate since she is the chair of the subcommittee. If you are able, you should segment your list to reach out to all of your constituents in Alaska and ask them to call Senator Murkowski and ask her to support the NEA.
- Other congressional targets include:
- Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
- Thad Cochran, Mississippi
- Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
- Roy Blunt, Missouri
- John Hoeven, North Dakota
- Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
- Steve Daines, Montana
- Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia
- House of Representatives:
- Ken Calver, CA-42
- Mike Simpson, ID-2
- Tom Cole, OK-4
- David Joyce, OH-14
- Chris Stewart, UT-2
- Mark Amodei, NV-2
- Evan Jenkins, WV-3
- This spreadsheet outlines the congressional districts along with all of the corresponding zip codes.
HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY
The good folks at PEN America, one of our members, put together this one stop shop: SAVE THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENTS FOR THE ARTS AND THE HUMANITIES: WHAT YOU CAN DO. Use this guide to contact your Congressperson, and any of the folks above. PEN provides a handy script in the guide.
With much appreciation,
Joe Callahan, Advocacy Chair
on behalf of the LitNet Steering Committee