On Thursday, the White House will reveal its proposed federal budget for 2018. As many have feared, federally funded arts programs are on the chopping block.
Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, has informed her staff of the president’s decision to eliminate both programs. A White House staffer was present during the staff meeting, which was held Wednesday afternoon.
The news was first reported by Cynthia Haven, a noted writer and visiting scholar at Stanford University, and subsequently confirmed by the New York Times.
According to the Times, the NEA and NEH will operate business as usual until Trump’s budget goes through Congress, which has final say. However, don’t expect Republican congressman to save these programs; they’ve long advocated for their elimination.
Funding for the national endowments currently makes up a minuscule portion — 0.003% (!) — of the nearly $4 trillion federal budget. In 2016, the NEA and NEH each received $148 million, money which provides crucial government grants for arts education and enrichment programs.
Trump’s budget is also expected to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports PBS, NPR, and other public TV and radio outlets. Its annual budget stands at less than $500 million. Update: Trump’s budget does in fact cease funding of public broadcasting.
Meanwhile, in his first month in office, Trump wasted $15 million of tax payers’ money playing golf at his resort in Mar-a-lago.