Skip to comments.House Conservatives Budge on Arts Spending
Posted on 07/17/2002 9:30:16 PM PDT by kattracks
ASHINGTON, July 17 - After a brief rebellion by conservative Republicans, the House today approved a $19.8 billion spending measure for public lands and cultural programs after increasing spending for a once-divisive arts programs. The final vote was 377 to 46.
That came after lawmakers agreed, on a 234-to-192 vote, to give $126 million to the National Endowment for the Arts, a $10 million increase, and $131 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities, an increase of $5 million.
The arts endowment in particular has been a past target of conservatives on the grounds that it financed obscene and inappropriate projects and drew the government into the subjective area of artistic merit.
Republicans quickly took aim at the program when they gained control of the House in 1994 and sought to eliminate the agency a few years later. It was kept alive by the Clinton administration and sympathetic senators. But financing has remained stagnant and is now more than 40 percent below the years leading up to the Republican takeover.
"Shame on us," said Representative Lynn Woolsey, Democrat of California, who chided opponents of the program for leaving the country "culturally impoverished.'
Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York and chairwoman of the Congressional Arts Caucus, noted that President Bush had recognized the role of arts in schools. "Now it's time to show us the money," Ms. Slaughter said.
Even critics of the program said changes had made it more acceptable in recent years. Still, they said that the initial spending levels approved by the Appropriations Committee were sufficient. Forty-two Republicans and 191 Democrats backed the increase, while 177 Republicans and 14 Democrats opposed it; two independents split.
At the urging of California lawmakers, the House agreed to prohibit federal spending on the development of three dozen oil leases off that's state's coast. The authors of the amendment said California deserved the same consideration as Florida, where the Bush administration recently agreed to buy back oil leases opposed by Gov. Jeb Bush.
Representative Lois Capps, Democrat of California, who wrote the amendment, said she hoped the 252-to-172 vote would lead to a permanent prohibition on new drilling.
"Passage of this amendment is a major step toward terminating the leases that threaten the Central Coast's environment and economy," Mrs. Capps said.
In a sign of tensions in Congress, consideration of the spending measure to finance the Interior Department and other agencies the third of 13 spending measures that will be considered in the House was slowed on Tuesday by resistance from conservative Republicans. They were seeking to cut up to $775 million from the measure, saying they did not want it to exceed the requests of President Bush.
The group sought to make its point procedurally by offering amendments to cut spending, beginning with a reduction of $162 million for the Bureau of Land Management.
Challenging their own party's leadership of the appropriations process, the conservatives said they were worried that passing "bloated" measures in the early stages would make it much more difficult when the House turned to the larger spending measures for health, justice, housing and veterans.
"If the Houses passes the first appropriations bills at levels significantly above the request, I think we will be forced at the end of the process to break the bank," said Representative Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan.
Though the proposals to enact the cuts were overwhelmingly rejected, the debate kept the measure from being moved forward and frustrated House leaders who want to make progress on the spending bills.
Representative Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania and one of the leaders of the rebels, said the spending foes agreed to drop their amendments today in exchange for a promise from Republican leaders that the first spending measure to be brought up after the August recess would be the labor and health measure, one of the largest.
Democrats described the feud as an intramural Republican fight caused, they said, by Mr. Bush's tax cuts, which reduced the money available.
"We are seeing a philosophical war within the Republican party," said Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.
The bill contains almost $520 million more than last year for the Interior Department and appropriates $2.4 billion for the National Park Service, $39 million more than sought by the president. It also includes $700 million in emergency money for fighting wildfires.
So instead of selling timber as a supplement to its budget, the Interior Department lets the national forests become overgrown to the point they burn up in the drought.
Then -- Congress appropriates another $700 million to cover their mistake.
(I guess we can always blame it on Clinton.)
Nope, the war is over.
The RINOs have won, led by General Sellout himself, GWBII, affectionately known around here as MIB Jr.
Spend your OWN money if you want art you pompus twit.
Claire, is it time yet?
To me this issue is very cut and dried, and yet the NEA will continue into perpetuity. Why is cutting this so hard? Why don't they just tell the blue-blood artsy crowd to go find donations?
I'd like to show her the federal withholding from my paycheck. Greedy Ba$tards
Very telling that they will not actually cut anything, even as the engine which fueled their profligate spending is falling apart around us. The GOP is clueless, ball-less, brainless and gutless...did I leave any 'less' out?
An earlier poster asked Claire if it is time yet, referring to Clair Wolfe's oft-quoted observation that it is too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.
But I think she said that a few years ago. That was now, this is then. So I dunno for sure, but we're getting closer I suspect...
Public lands and cultural programs in the same bill?...Is that for buying up more "public land" FOR "cultural programs"?
we're They're so f*&^ed up, they can't even categorize....or maybe that's by design....I wonder how many other bills will have "cultural programs" riders on them?
I'm thinking of a synonym for cat to describe most House Republicans ...
The humorous part of this article was right there in the title: "Conservatives".
The redefinition of 'words' is nearly complete. Didn't they say that the Constitution is a "Living" document? When all of the words get redefined, it be just like those "10
In Missouri right now, they're going for a 4 cent/gal. increase in gasoline tax. That will bring State and Federal Tax to approx. 40 cents/gal. Diesel is even higher on tax.
They're running commercials to get this increase that indicate that the State Highway Patrol won't be able to save citizens lives without it.
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