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Article Published: 26 Sep 2023

Arts Advocacy Update

FY2024 Federal Government Appropriations Update; Potential Federal Government Shutdown After September 30; Please Urge Your Elected Officials to Do Their Job

The U.S. Congress has until Saturday, September 30 (the end of FY2023) to pass legislation to fund the federal government for FY2024. The current focus on Capitol Hill is to pass a continuing resolution (temporary funding legislation) to last several weeks to allow Congress to pass more permanent appropriations legislation to fund the remainder of FY2024. There is significant disagreement between the political parties and between the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that will likely result in a federal government shutdown on October 1 to last days or even weeks. All federal agencies will have contingency plans in place concerning their operations during a likely federal government shutdown. Here is a White House listing of the latest federal agency contingency plans in case of a lapse in appropriations. For the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a federal government shutdown would mean a shutdown of all operations, including all grantmaking activities.

Please contact your U.S. representatives and senators via email, phone, and/or social media and urge them to do their job and pass legislation to fund the federal government for FY2024. A federal government shutdown, however short in time, will cause significant adverse impacts to businesses, nonprofit organizations, local communities, schools, families, and children. OPERA America recently signed onto a letter of support sent by the National Council of Nonprofits to congressional leadership to urge their action to avert a federal government shutdown and to provide adequate funding to programs that impact the lives of families and children.

OPERA America continues to advocate unilaterally and collaboratively with other national organization partners to urge increased funding for the NEA, NEH, and other federal arts and cultural-related agencies and arts education programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The NEA and NEH received $207 million for FY2023. The president proposed $211 million (a $4 million increase) each for the NEA and NEH for FY2024. The NEA is the only arts funder in America, public or private, that supports the arts in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Here are additional facts about the NEA and how it leverages its funding to support the arts and humanities at the state and local levels.

Please urge your U.S. representatives and senators to pass increased funding for all the federal arts and cultural-related agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) — at least $211 million respectively — and arts education programs under the U.S. Department of Education. OPERA America members and allies can utilize OPERA America’s Action Alert to communicate electronically with their federal elected officials.

Any questions or inquiries can be directed to Tony Shivers, Director of Government Affairs, at TShivers@operaamerica.org.


U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Rule Concerning Overtime Pay

The Hour and Wage Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a proposed rule — WHD-2023-0001, Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees — to update and revise the regulations for determining whether certain white-collar salaried employees are exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposed rule would guarantee overtime pay for most salaried workers earning less than $1,059 per week (about $55,000 per year) and, according to the federal agency, would restore and extend overtime protections to 3.6 million salaried workers. Here is additional information from the U.S. Department of Labor concerning its proposed rule. According to the federal agency, the proposed rule would additionally do the following:

  • Give workers who are not exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees valuable time back;
  • Prevent a future erosion of overtime protections and ensure greater predictability; and
  • Restore overtime protections for U.S. territories. 

Interested parties have until 11:59 p.m. ET on November 7, 2023, to submit their public comments. Any public comments received after the comment period closes will not be considered. The federal agency also strongly recommends that interested parties submit their comments electronically via regulations.gov to ensure timely receipt prior to the close of the comment period.

Below is additional information concerning the DOL proposed rule.

Any questions or inquiries can be directed to Tony Shivers, Director of Government Affairs, at TShivers@operaamerica.org.