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Article Published: 18 Jul 2023

Arts Advocacy Update

Please Urge Increased FY2024 Appropriations for NEA and NEH; U.S. House Appropriations Committee Considers 10% Cut

Tomorrow, July 19, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee is currently scheduled to markup its FY2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations (funding) bill, which includes funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The markup process starts the consideration of the bill. The bill provides non-defense discretionary spending totaling $25.42 billion, which is $13.43 billion (35%) below FY2023-enacted funding levels and $21.37 billion below the president’s FY2024 budget request.

The bill provides $186.3 million for the NEA and NEH, which is $20.7 million (10%) below the FY2023-enacted funding level ($207 million) and $24.7 million below the president’s FY2024 Budget Request ($211 million). Here is an appropriations history for the NEA. The bill additionally reduces funding for nearly every relevant federal agency and is supposed to meet the programmatic needs of relevant federal agencies by reining in spending for low-priority programs. You can watch the U.S. House Appropriations Committee markup here (July 19 at 10:00 a.m. ET). A committee summary of the bill can be found here.

Please urge your U.S. Representatives and Senators to pass increased appropriations (at least $211 million) for the NEA and NEH by using this OPERA America Action Alert. The NEA is the only arts funder in the United States — public or private — that provides access to the arts in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. jurisdictions. 

Congressional timeline: U.S. Congress is required under the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (H.R. 3746; Public Law 118-5) — the debt-limit agreement — to return to regular order concerning its appropriations process, which is passing 12 separate appropriations bills that fund all federal agencies within the federal government by the end of the year. The agreement establishes a two-year budget cap that reduces federal spending by $1.5 trillion. There are only several days before Congress starts its month-long August recess. The new fiscal year (FY2024) for the federal government commences on October 1, 2023.


U.S. Department of Homeland Security Delays Decision of Proposed Rule to Increase Visa Fees

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently issued a notice that delays final rulemaking for DHS Docket No. USCIS 2021-0010, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigrations Benefit Request Requirements until March 2024. DHS released its proposed rule in January 2023 and solicited feedback from interested stakeholders until March 2023. DHS continues to consider public feedback submitted in response to the proposal, which significantly increases fees for O and P visas, caps the number of beneficiaries for group petitions, and lengthens the time by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has to respond to petitions filed via Premium Processing Service.

OPERA America is a signatory on joint comments filed by the Performing Arts Visa Working Group (PAVWG) in opposition to the proposed rule. Thousands of comments across the arts and cultural sector, business community, and nonprofit sector were submitted in opposition to the proposed rule, including opposing comments filed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Any notice of final rulemaking in March 2024 could set new visa fee levels that could differ from the proposed fees, confirm any policy changes, and set a date by which any changes would take effect.

Please use this OPERA America Action Alert to urge your U.S. representatives and senators to contact the DHS to withdraw the proposed rule. Further information about the proposed rule and other performing arts visa issues can be found on the Artists From Abroad website.


Please Urge Congress to Improve the Event Ticketing Process

OPERA America is a member of the Fix the Tix Coalition, led by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), to improve the event ticketing experience for consumers and to protect consumers from deceptive and predatory ticketing practices. The Coalition is working to get comprehensive legislation introduced, considered, and passed by the U.S. Congress by the end of the year. Comprehensive legislation will be based on the following four principles:

  • Prohibit: price gouging, fake tickets, predatory practices, and deceptive websites.
  • Provide: all-in ticket pricing transparency.
  • Prioritize: market integrity, fan access to face-value tickets, and fan privacy and safety.
  • Promise: fans have the opportunity to resell tickets.

Here are the Coalition’s talking points and policy proposal. OPERA America will keep its members and allies posted when legislation is introduced so they can urge their U.S. representatives and senators to pass the bill.