Chair Pingree Statement at Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the Arts and Humanities Hearing

2022-06-08 09:43

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Chair of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the Arts and Humanities Hearing:

Panel 1 Opening Statement

I am so pleased to welcome our first panel of witnesses today, Shelly C. Lowe and Dr. Maria Rosaria Jackson, Chairs of the National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts. Both witnesses are appearing for the first time before our subcommittee. Congratulations to both of you on your confirmation.

Today’s hearing provides us with a chance to hear more about the great work both Endowments have done over the last couple of years in supporting our communities across the country economically, culturally, and educationally.

The National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts are a perfect example of how the federal government can be a positive force in communities large and small in every state. In your statement following your confirmation, Dr. Jackson, you said, “In addition to serving as an economic engine, arts and creativity are core to what it takes to heal our nation, our communities, and ourselves.” I wholeheartedly agree.

The FY 2023 budget request for the National Endowment for the Humanities is $200.68 million, $20.68 million over the FY 2022 enacted level. The request for the National Endowment for the Arts is $203.55 million, $23.55 million over the FY 2022 enacted level.

These requests build upon the vital increases in funding this Committee provided to the Endowments in FY 2022. The enacted bill provided $180 million to each Endowment, an increase of $12.5 million apiece above FY 2021.

In addition, Congress has provided funding to both Endowments through the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan. These additional investments totaled $210 million for each Endowment. This supplemental funding saved jobs, saved cultural institutions across the country, and provided an essential lifeline to industries hit hard by the pandemic.

Following the passage of the FY 2022 Bill, Chair Lowe you released a statement highlighting how that funding would allow NEH to support cultural and educational institutions which were still in the midst of recovering from the pandemic, a recovery which still continues to this day for much of the sector. Furthermore, as you pointed out, that funding was designed to expand essential access to humanities resources to all Americans in this critical time.

Looking forward, there is still more work to be done. Every dollar provided to the Endowments has an economic footprint many times larger on the community it is invested in. And as we will discuss today, continuing strong funding for the Endowments’ work provides benefits to far-ranging fields from rural design and development to civic education.

I look forward to both of your testimonies this afternoon.

Panel 2 Opening Statement 

I would like to welcome our second panel, Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and Kaywin Feldman, Director of the National Gallery of Art, joining us to discuss their FY 2023 budget requests and their collaborative projects.

I want to note that this is Secretary Bunch’s first time testifying before the subcommittee, so I am eager for the opportunity to learn more about your vision for the Institution.

In 2021, the Smithsonian celebrated a milestone, its 175th anniversary. We hope today’s hearing will provide an opportunity for you to discuss how you imagine the treasures, research, data, and scholarship of the Smithsonian will be used to achieve your mission, the increase, and diffusion of knowledge, in the next 175 years.

The FY 2023 budget request is $1.175 billion, an increase of $112 million over the FY 2022 enacted level.  We look forward to discussing how this requested increase will support the Smithsonian’s digital transformation, education goals, robust research programs, and make essential investments in both the facilities and the workforce.

The FY 2023 National Gallery of Art budget request is $209 million, an increase of $28.7 million over the FY 2022 enacted level. The FY 2023 budget request represents an exciting time of change for the National Gallery as it moves forward with both renovations to the main Gallery buildings as well as the construction of the Pod-6 joint storage facility in cooperation with the Smithsonian. Furthermore, the Gallery’s budget includes strategic investments in additional staff to support its work to advance racial equity from the artists whose work is being displayed to the Gallery’s staff and audience.

According to the Gallery’s budget request, in FY 2019 over seven million people benefited from the Gallery’s online presence, and over thirty-three million people utilized free educational resources from the Gallery. In addition to the broad engagement these statistics show; the Gallery makes hundreds of art loans available across the country to benefit Americans beyond those that can make the trip to visit the Gallery in person. I look forward to hearing more about efforts to expand this engagement and work towards your other priorities Director Feldman.

Secretary Bunch and Director Feldman, I appreciate the work you and the employees of the Smithsonian and the National Gallery do to advance the civic, educational, scientific, and artistic life of this nation.

I look forward to your testimony this afternoon and to hearing more about your plans for your organizations through the next fiscal year.  


117th Congress