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Museum Advocates Score Major Victories in Year-End Spending Legislation

Category: Advocacy Alert
Image of the U.S. Capitol 2019

Advocacy Alert – December 20, 2019

Museum Advocates Score Major Victories in Year-End Spending Legislation 

Federal Funding Victories! Great news in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills Congress just passed:

Funding for the Office of Museum Services (OMS) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will increase from $34.7 million in FY 2019 to $38.5 million in FY 2020, which began on October 1. That’s nearly a $4 million increase and just shy of our $38.6 million “ask” on Museums Advocacy Day.

In addition, funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will increase from $155 million to $162.3 million each – an increase of $7.3 million apiece.

These are the largest funding increases for these agencies in at least a decade.

Other programs of interest to museums also received significant funding increases. These funding increases are part of a $1.4 trillion FY 2020 spending deal divided up into two packages that Congress passed this week and the president is expected to sign into law to avoid a government shutdown.

Nonprofit Tax Policy Victory: In addition to securing major funding increases, there was a significant tax policy win included in the FY 2020 spending deal. In coalition with a broad range of nonprofit associations, the Alliance worked to successfully and retroactively repeal the unrelated business income tax (UBIT) provision that imposed an onerous 21 percent tax on expenses that nonprofits, including museums, incur for certain transportation and parking benefits provided to employees.

Crosby Kemper III Nominated to be Director of IMLS: In other news, Crosby Kemper III, Director of the Kansas City Public Library in Missouri, was nominated in November by the president to be the next director of IMLS. Kemper was recommended by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), who is chairman of the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee which funds IMLS. Kemper is well regarded by the museum community in Missouri and beyond, and the Alliance is encouraging his swift confirmation. On December 12, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced Kemper’s nomination to the full Senate.

Congratulations! A big congratulations to you, museum advocates, for these impressive and hard-fought victories. Together, we have defeated multiple and ongoing attempts to eliminate IMLS, NEA and NEH. Catalyzed by Museum’s Advocacy Day 2019 and working throughout the year, your efforts have made these successes possible. We look forward to building on these accomplishments next year and seeing you February 24-25 at Museums Advocacy Day 2020. Get inspired by this short video.

Until then, the Alliance team wishes you happy and peaceful holidays.

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