Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 10:02:43 -0400 (EDT) From: John Hammer <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: NHANews <NHA-NEWS@cni.org>, nhaannounce <NHA-ANNOUNCE@cni.org> Subject: Senate alert Message-Id: <Pine.ULT.3.96.970917100135.27952Bemail@example.com> 17 September 1997 MEMORANDUM TO: NHA Members and Friends FR: John Hammer RE: Interim Report on the Senate Debate on the FY-98 Interior Appropriations Bill (H.R.2107) On Monday, floor debate on the interior bill began and included introduction of a number of amendments affecting the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEA) including: * Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) which would blockgrant 75% of NEA's $100 million to the states; provide $20 million for national grants to institutions; and $5 million for NEA administration [amendment 1186]; * Tim Hutchinson (R-AR), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Spencer Abraham (R-MI), and Mike Enzi (R-WY) to abolish NEA and blockgrant virtually all NEA funds to the states [amendment 1187] * John Ashcroft (R-MO), Jesse Helms (R-NC), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Mr. Sessions to abolish the NEA [amendment 1188]; * Tim Hutchinson (R-AR), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Spencer Abraham (R-MI), and Mike Enzi (R-WY) to abolish NEA and blockgrant virtually all NEA funds to the states [amendment 1187] In addition, Mr. Abraham (R-MI) has twice announced plans to introduce an amendment to privatize the NEA over 3-years. Perhaps it will be ready tomorrow. This amendment may be introduced this morning.. On Monday, Senator John Warner (R-VA) announced that he supported the Appropriations Committee bill and discussed his role in amending the Jeffords-Kennedy-Chaffee (S.1020) reauthorization bill. Said he hope the leaders of the appropriations and authorizing committees would bring forth parts of the authorizing bill to include in H.R.2107. Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT), who serves as point man for the endowments on the Interior and Related Agencies (Appropriations) Subcommittee said that he regretted the polarizing debate over the NEA that made constructive compromise so difficult. He indicated that he found Kay Bailey Hutchison's concept interesting but that he would vote for the committee report. Mr. Bennett also mentioned that Appropriations Chair Ted Stevens (R-AK) would offer an amendment calling for serious investigation, hearings, and so forth on the possibility of merging the NEA and NEH. Mr., Bennett emphasized that he favored a deliberative approach that invites input through hearings. James Jeffords (R-VT) spoke in favor of the Appropriations Committee bill but did not reveal whether he favors attaching S.1020 to the bill. Last week, Staffers suggested that Mr. Jeffords and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) would offer the reauthorization bill as an amendment if Ms. Hutchison's amendment was offered. Yesterday, Slade Gorton (R-WA), Interior Subcommittee chair agreed to the demands of a number of Western Senators to remove the two sections of the bill affecting Indian tribal sovereignty and a means test for federal payments. In exchange, it was agreed that the two issues will be studied by the Indian Affairs Committee chaired by Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO). Mr. Campbell, who is Native American himself, gave a passionate speech underscoring the history of the Federal Government and Native America tribes This morning (Wednesday, September 17), debate resumes with the announced plan to move to voting. At Mr. Gorton's direction, the Ashcroft et al amendment will be voted on first. WHAT CAN BE DONE AT THIS POINT? ALL OF THE AMENDMENTS WILL BE DAMAGING TO THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS. THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES WILL BE WEAKENED IN THE LONGER RUN IF THE NEA IS WEAKENED. CONCERNED MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY ARE URGED TO TELEPHONE THEIR SENATORS THIS TODAY (PREFERABLY THIS MORNING) TO ASK THAT SENATORS SUPPORT THE FY-98 INTERIOR APPROPRIATIONS BILL (H.R.1020) AND TO OPPOSE ALL AMENDMENTS THAT RESTRUCTURE, ABOLISH, PRIVATIZE, OR OTHERWISE AFFECT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS.