FUND THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 60
(House of Representatives - April 06, 2017)

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                      FUND THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Faso). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 3, 2017, the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. 
Langevin) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority 
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join a number of my 
colleagues in strong support of the National Endowments for the Arts 
and Humanities. These venerable institutions, which both recently 
celebrated their 50th anniversaries, are a cornerstone of American 
cultural expressions. Sadly, they are also under attack.

[[Page H2771]]

  The President's recent budget outline called for the defunding and 
dismantling of the Endowments. So I have gathered here with my friends 
and colleagues in the hope that we can help the President change his 
mind and demonstrate to him the immense benefit that the NEA and the 
NEH bring to our districts, our country, and, in fact, the world.
  Being a Rhode Islander, I have always felt a special connection to 
the arts and humanities. Rhode Island was founded as a colony that 
welcomed free expression of religion, and that freedom of thought 
quickly translated into an independent mindedness that drove creative 
endeavors. It is no wonder, then, that into such an environment was 
born one of the 20th century's great statesmen and a champion of the 
arts, our late senior Senator, Senator Claiborne Pell.
  Senator Pell was a mentor of mine, and I actually had the privilege 
of interning with him twice at one point. He is rightly lionized for 
many of his legislative achievements, including the Pell grants that 
bear his name. But I believe that no issue was closer to his heart than 
that of preserving and promoting American art and culture.
  Anyone who knew the Senator knew that his own passion was reflected 
and redoubled by his wife, the indomitable Nuala Pell, one of the great 
supporters of the arts that my State and our country has ever seen. The 
National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities can trace their 
beginnings to the passions of the Pells, the vision of President 
Kennedy, and the determination of President Johnson.
  President Kennedy began his term with a focus on American culture, 
when he invited Robert Frost to read a poem at his inauguration. He 
soon followed this up by appointing August Heckscher his Special 
Consultant on the Arts. Heckscher's report entitled, ``The Arts and the 
National Government,'' led to the creation of the President's Advisory 
Council on the Arts.
  Meanwhile, Senator Pell, the chairman of the Senate Special 
Subcommittee on the Arts and Humanities, was hard at work. He began his 
first hearing in 1963 with this statement: ``I believe that this cause 
and its implementation has a worldwide application; for as our cultural 
life is enhanced and strengthened, so does it project itself into the 
world beyond our shores. Let us apply renewed energies to the very 
concept we seek to advance: a true renaissance--the reawakening, the 
quickening, and above all, the unstinted growth of our cultural 
  So over the next 2 years, working with legislators including Senators 
Hubert Humphrey and Jacob Javits and Representatives Frank Thompson and 
William Moorhead, Senator Pell crafted President Kennedy's vision into 
a reality. With the full support and assistance of President Johnson, 
the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act was signed 
into law on September 29, 1965.
  The first Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, 
incidentally, was another Rhode Islander, Barnaby Keeney, then 
president of Brown University.
  Mr. Speaker, I begin this hour with a survey of history for a couple 
of reasons. First, I think that it is vital that both Members and the 
President understand the care and consideration that went into creating 
the Endowments. So years of deliberation by some of our finest 
legislators went into the determination made in the arts and said:

       While primarily a matter for private and local initiative, 
     the arts and humanities are also appropriate matters of 
     concern of the Federal Government.

  So there is no doubt that private foundation and corporate 
philanthropy are the bedrock of artistic funding in this country. 
Nonetheless, there is an important role for government at all levels to 
play, and the Endowment serves as the catalyst for governmental 
  Second, looking back helps remind us of the aspirations that drove 
the creation of the Endowments in the first place. Last week, we 
learned of the death of Yevgeny Yevtushenko, a Soviet poet who defied 
his totalitarian government. When President Kennedy brought poetry to 
his inauguration, it was in direct contrast to the Soviet Union, where 
literary dissidents were imprisoned or exiled and not given freedom to 
  What a message to send to the world in the 1960s, that the United 
States prized artistic expression, celebrated scholarly inquiry, and 
believed in the strength and progress embodied by multiculturalism. So 
the playwright in New York was not censored. He was cheered. A 
historian in North Carolina was greeted not with accusation, but 
acclaim. The painter in Nevada was not imprisoned; she was empowered.

  Placed in context, the message sent by the creation of the Endowments 
was that America's culture was not just an asset to be protected, but a 
powerful tool for promoting freedom worldwide.
  Just as importantly, the 1965 act recognized that American culture 
was not static. Rather, its evolution over time was the source of its 
power. However, I believe the most important reason to begin with the 
history of the Endowments can be found in the Arts and Humanities Act 
itself: ``An advanced civilization must not limit its efforts to 
science and technology alone, but must give full value and support to 
the other great branches of scholarly and cultural activity in order to 
achieve a better understanding of the past, a better analysis of the 
present, and a better view of the future.''
  Why do we study the arts and humanities? Why do we promote them in 
the Halls of Congress? ``To achieve a better understanding of the past, 
a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future.''
  Mr. Speaker, I co-chair the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, a 
caucus that owes its very name to the work of an artist, William 
Gibson, who first coined the phrase ``cyberspace'' in 1984. Gibson 
helped create the lexicon that we use today to describe the internet as 
we know it and, in so doing, helped to shape its development and 
growth--a better view of the future, indeed.
  For years, I promoted the STEM to STEAM movement, the concept of 
adding art and design to the STEM disciplines of science, technology, 
engineering, and mathematics.
  Incidentally, this movement is another product of my home State, 
courtesy of the brilliant minds at the Rhode Island School of Design, 
in particular, as I understand it, then former President John Maeda, 
who, as I understand, coined the term ``STEM to STEAM.''
  Incorporating principles of art and design in STEM helps foster 
creativity, encourages collaboration, and can engender sudden, inspired 
breakthroughs, all by helping to better analyze the present.
  So in my role in the Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, 
I am presented daily with new threats brought on by the advent of new 
technologies or fast-moving global events. The temptation to act 
quickly is strong, and sometimes immediate reaction is warranted; but 
more often than not, it is through examination of the past that I find 
a path forward.
  These United States have weathered many crises over the centuries--
some of our own making--but by better understanding of them, I can 
better analyze the present and better see a future of America peaceful, 
prosperous, and free.
  Mr. Speaker, I know my colleagues have stories to tell of the great 
works that the NEA and NEH have supported in their districts, and I 
will share some of those stories as well. But I hope my words on the 
history of the Endowments have helped shape our understanding of their 
incredible purpose and ideals of President Kennedy, President Johnson, 
Senator Pell, and their colleagues.
  America is better for the Endowments existing. The world is better 
for it. To cast them away in a budget outline that zeros them out 
without even a word of justification is a tragedy.

                              {time}  1115

  It dismisses the ideals of our forbearers as insignificant. It 
ignores the half century of work that many of my colleagues here have 
done to promote our culture through the Endowments. And in the cruelest 
of ironies, it does so without engaging with the very disciplines it 
dismisses as unneeded. It cannot and will not go unchallenged.
  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield as much time as he may consume to 
the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Price). The gentleman has co-led 
this effort with me, and he proudly co-chairs the Caucus on the 

[[Page H2772]]


  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for 
yielding and for taking up this Special Order to focus on the role of 
the Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities in American life and the 
need for us in this body to have some historical perspective and 
appreciation of that, and to rise to the occasion of the challenge 
presented by the Trump preliminary budget to make certain that these 
efforts are appreciated, and, more importantly, that they are funded, 
that they are supported in this body and in our budget for fiscal 2018.
  I am glad that the gentleman took some time to give us a history 
lesson. He comes by this advocacy honestly because he is the 
Representative from Rhode Island. The inspiration behind the 
Endowments, back in the 1960s, was Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode 
Island, a towering figure in the Senate.
  I suppose I am one of the few Members around here who has been around 
long enough to remember Claiborne Pell. I never served with him, but I 
was a young staff member in the U.S. Senate when Claiborne Pell was 
going strong.
  I first got a job as a summer intern and then returned summer after 
summer. I ended up writing a dissertation out of the Senate office of 
Senator Bob Bartlett of Alaska who was a friend and collaborator of 
Claiborne Pell's.
  Pell had many things going. I remember his chairman, Senator Lister 
Hill of Alabama. When I interviewed him at one point, he remarked on 
Claiborne and how just Claiborne had everything going. You had to 
really work to keep up with him.
  But these Endowments were favorite projects of Claiborne Pell and of 
that uniquely fertile period in the history of this Congress when these 
efforts were pioneered and established, and, of course, they have 
enriched our national life ever since.
  As the gentleman from Rhode Island mentioned, I have been honored to 
co-chair the Congressional Humanities Caucus. I have also been a member 
for a long time of the Congressional Arts Caucus.
  It is at least in part in that capacity I speak out today in defense 
of these Endowments, but also as a U.S. citizen, as a former academic 
who appreciates the role both of these Endowments play in supporting 
academic life and research into our history, our culture, our national 
  And not just research at the very top levels of our great 
universities, although they do some of that, but also the kind of local 
historical understanding that is developed through local arts councils 
and through local groups who research history and put on pageants and 
who educate young people and who do so much to enrich our national life 
from the bottom up.
  One of the strengths, I think, of both the Arts and the Humanities 
Endowments, maybe their greatest strength, is their grassroots 
character--how they work to make history and the arts real and tangible 
and meaningful to young people coming along and to our local 
  That is one reason their political support is so strong and so broad 
in terms of the political spectrum. We all know there have been times 
in the past where opportunistic politicians took out after the arts and 
the humanities thinking that maybe they could get a point or two by 
pretending to be antielitist or something like that. Efforts fall flat 
because Members of this body and most Americans know that the 
Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities operate at anything other 
than an elitist fashion.
  They have managed to, at one and the same time, support the great 
achievements of our top research institutions but also to fund all 
sorts of activity at the local level, to the grassroots level, that has 
enriched our understanding of who we are and where we came from.
  There was a Commission on the Humanities organized by the American 
Academy of Arts & Sciences a few years ago. It was co-chaired by the 
distinguished president of Duke University, Dick Brodhead, and a 
prominent businessman, John Rowe. The heart of the matter is the report 
that they produced. I would recommend to colleagues that report. It is 
not a report designed to gather dust on a shelf. It is a report 
designed to be an action document to help us understand that the 
humanities in this country are an important part of our educational 
excellence. They are an important part of our competitiveness 
  The humanities are important to national security and to the business 
world in terms of languages and cultural understanding and the kind of 
historical perspective that people need to operate in the modern world.
  We all have our stories about how the humanities have enriched our 
lives and given us understanding. I experience that every day, not in a 
direct application necessarily but some kind of appreciation of where 
we have come from historically. What is the validity of some of these 
idealogical arguments that we hear? What is the history of our 
institution and of our role at critical moments? There is so much, 
whatever your walk of life, whether you are a Member of Congress or a 
businessperson or whatever. You are not going to get an instant history 
when you need it, when you need to have that understanding and that 
perspective. You gain this only by virtue of your educational 
background and what is available to you in terms of resources to deepen 
your understanding, and then you draw on that later, and it is 
extremely important to have that to draw on.
  We need to situate ourselves, in this body especially, situate 
ourselves historically and understand the challenges we face. A broad 
liberal arts education is simply irreplaceable as a way of doing that. 
There are no more effective champions of broad liberal arts education 
and all of its facets than the Endowments for the Arts and the 

  They have a robust system of partnerships with State agencies, local 
leaders, and the philanthropic sector. I particularly appreciate, in my 
district, the Carolina Ballet; the North Carolina Symphony, which gave 
a wonderful performance at the Kennedy Center as part of a series to 
celebrate State orchestras last week; and the National Humanities 
Center in my district also, a home for first-rate research in the 
humanities where scholars come year in and year out.
  There is an economic impact that is sometimes not fully appreciated. 
A recent analysis by the Bureau of Economic Analysis found that our 
Nation's arts and cultural capacity produces over $700 billion in 
economic output and supports millions of jobs.
  Coming down to specific programs, in fiscal year 2016 alone, the 
Endowment for the Humanities museums grants leveraged $33 million into 
an additional $104 million. That is a pretty good return, quite a 
return, for the American taxpayer.
  In fact, every dollar that the State Humanities Council gives out in 
grants, since fiscal year 2015, leveraged at least $5 at the local and 
State level.
  There are all kinds of reasons for us to appreciate the arts and the 
humanities--the ways they enrich our lives, the kind of ways they equip 
this country and this country's young people to be insightful, to be 
creative, to think outside the box, to develop their skills to the 
fullest extent for their own good and also for the good of our country.
  In the face of all this, how can it be that the preliminarily budget 
of the Trump administration proposes eliminating these time-tested and 
productive programs?
  I don't believe that will stand. I don't believe Members of either 
party in this body will let it stand. The funding already is very 
modest for these institutions. I am not talking about meeting the Trump 
administration halfway. I am talking about restoring full funding for 
the Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities and standing up proudly 
for these institutions and understanding and furthering understanding 
of the role they play in our national life.
  Where did this proposal come from? I know where it came from--an 
outside rightwing think tank. That is the only credential that I know 
that this proposal from the preliminary budget has. I hope and believe 
that this was an overly hasty inclusion in that preliminary budget 
based on nothing more than this think tank's proposal.
  I know it is up for reconsideration, I hope by the administration 
itself, but certainly by this body, as we put together our budget for 
2018 and also our appropriations bills for the year.
  We have got to stand up for our institutions' prerogatives in this 
case, but

[[Page H2773]]

exercise those prerogatives on behalf of our own constituents, our own 
communities, and two of the finest and most efficient and most 
effective uses of Federal funds that are in the whole budget, the 
National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.
  Let's hold fast in our investment. It is one of the most efficient we 
make in terms of leveraging private, nonprofit, and corporate dollars. 
It is one of the very most effective in enriching our national life.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend again for taking up this Special 
Order. I am happy to work with him on this, and we will count on a 
cooperative effort going forward.
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his outstanding 
comments, his insights, and his leadership on the arts and humanities 
issues. As co-chair of the Humanities Caucus here in the Congress, I 
appreciate his efforts in helping me organize and colead this effort to 
speak out against the effort to zero out the National Endowments for 
the Arts and the Humanities budget. We hope it will not stand, and we 
hope that the President will reconsider his initial budget proposal.
  I am proud to yield to a number of my colleagues and want to begin 
with the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pascrell), no shrinking violet 
himself, someone who is artistic and colorful in his own right, but it 
is no surprise to me that being from New Jersey he would be here since 
it was one of his late colleagues, the former Congressman from New 
Jersey, Frank Thompson, who was the House sponsor of the National 
Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act.
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Rhode Island.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my strong support for the 
National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities. I want to 
associate myself with the comments of the gentleman from Rhode Island 
and the gentleman from North Carolina.
  As a former teacher, I have seen firsthand how important the arts and 
humanities are in educating our kids and bettering society as a whole.
  It has been shown that exposure to the arts stimulates students' 
learning, their motivation, and their creativity.
  Those students involved in the arts score significantly higher in the 
SATs than other students. Now, more than ever, the arts often seem to 
be one of the first programs cut from a school or a government budget.
  In fact, this President has proposed eliminating both the Endowments 
entirely--the first time any President has proposed such a measure. 
This has been supported by Democrats and Republicans because it is 
meaningful to the entire Republic.
  The NEA, the National Endowment for the Arts, has already sustained 
significant budget reductions. The NEA appropriation is 12 percent 
lower than it was in 2010. It declined to $19.5 million.
  And while I understand, when everything is a priority, nothing is a 
priority, I understand that this priority affects the spirit of the 
greatest Nation in the world.

                              {time}  1130

  The importance of arts and humanities is not something we should even 
forget, even in the face of tough economic times. The arts support 4.7 
million full-time United States jobs and, as you have heard, creates 
billions in economic activity each year.
  In New Jersey, the National Endowment for the Arts last year provided 
over $1 million in direct grant funding to 13 arts organizations, 
community groups, schools, and artists, as well as enabled the New 
Jersey State Council on the Arts to award 171 grant and nongrant 
services totalling over $13 million. So there are consequences and a 
ripple effect to the few Federal dollars that are provided and 
  In my hometown of Paterson, New Jersey, the Council for the 
Humanities has awarded grant funding to the Hamilton Partnership for 
Paterson in support of their work for the Great Falls National 
Historical Park.
  Humanities organizations like these enrich the cultural and 
historical benefits of the Great Falls through programming and 
community involvement initiatives. That is why it is crucial that we 
ensure that they receive the funding and the recognition they deserve.
  The budget proposal does damage to Americans across the board. One 
area taking a massive hit, if I may use a parallel, is health care. 
This budget would cripple the NIH, the National Institutes of Health, 
slashing funding by $5.8 billion, equal to 19 percent of the current 
$30.8 billion discretionary budget. The budget takes aim at vital 
antipoverty programs that directly impact health care because poverty 
causes poor health. So our physical health is going to take a toll.
  But it is our mental health that could be improved through a strong 
arts foundation, helping to relieve stresses and lift American spirits. 
Spiritual health of Americans, supported by the NEA and the NEH, is a 
key piece of our overall well-being.
  As an active member of the Congressional Arts Caucus, I have spent 
years opposing those who wanted to slash funding for the National 
Endowment for the Arts and Humanities.
  I will continue to work with my colleagues--and I pledge to you today 
that I will--on these Federal initiatives that possess widespread and 
bipartisan support.
  Democrats and Republicans have always come together on this issue. It 
lifts our spirit as a culture and a nation. You mentioned Yevtushenko 
before, a Russian poet who came to New York City in the fifties. I only 
know a few words in Russian, but I went anyway because he was going to 
read his poetry in Russian. There was no interpreter there.
  Yevtushenko had been in the midst of the Russian Revolution. He had 
been in the midst of people trying to gain a voice. I just know a few 
words; nonetheless, I was moved by his spirit, like watching a painting 
or looking at a photograph or going to a movie. I understand without 
knowing the words. That is what a poem should be. It should be, 
regardless of meaning, in any language. Whether it is music, art, 
poetry, sculpture, cinema, photography, dance, it doesn't matter.
  This is the heart of America. Our children are drawn to it. And we 
even use art and the humanities now to help those people through very 
distressing times, which is very interesting and fascinating.
  So I thank the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. Langevin) for 
yielding. I want him to know he has a partner. Once I partner, you know 
I am not going to go away.
  I also thank those who did stay to speak about this very critical 
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I know everyone is on a tight time 
schedule, but I thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pascrell) for 
staying and contributing his thoughts and his support to this effort.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. 
Cicilline). I know that he is on a tight schedule to try to catch a 
train at noon.
  Mr. CICILLINE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Rhode Island 
for convening this Special Order hour and for his incredible leadership 
on this issue of the importance of the National Endowment for the Arts 
and the National Endowment for the Humanities, not only here in 
Congress, but for what the gentleman does back in Rhode Island to 
ensure that all Rhode Islanders have the ability to experience and 
enjoy the beauty of the arts and culture in our great State.
  As the gentleman knows, and I am sure he has referenced, we come from 
the State of the late Senator Claiborne Pell, the founder of the 
National Endowment for the Arts. So we feel a special privilege, and it 
is a great honor to stand and defend this great institution. As has 
been mentioned, art not only nourishes our soul, but it makes us more 
human and creates beauty in the world.
  We have had a number of events recently in Rhode Island where we have 
brought in invited artists and people who enjoy art to speak about what 
the impact might mean if we defunded the National Endowment for the 
Arts. There were so many beautiful words that were shared by a young 
woman who said: Art helped me find my voice.
  And she described kind of what her life had been before she became an 
  We know the economic impact of the arts. In my congressional 

[[Page H2774]]

there are 1,340 arts-related businesses that employ almost 7,000 
people. We spend in this country a very modest amount, .004 percent, so 
four one-thousandths of 1 percent is the budget of the National 
Endowment for the Arts. So it is a very modest budget.
  Forty percent of the programming for the National Endowment for the 
Arts supports activities in high-poverty areas. So the contributions it 
makes are enormous to our economy. For every dollar that is invested in 
the arts, it yields $51 in economic activity. So there are tremendous 
economic benefits to this.
  In addition to that, as was referenced by Representative Price from 
North Carolina, arts, culture, and creativity are essential parts of 
the job skills for the 21st century. People want to employ people who 
are entrepreneurial, creative, problem-solving; and arts and music are 
some of the best vehicles to develop those skills.

  So it is something which is important to the future economy of our 
country, to the kind of civilization that we will be a part of. It adds 
to the lives of everyone that we will represent.
  I thank Representative Langevin for giving me an opportunity to 
reinforce the importance of funding the National Endowment for the Arts 
and the National Endowment for the Humanities. It makes all the 
difference in the world to the kind of art experiences people have in 
this country. We invest a very modest amount of money, and it yields so 
much more that it is hard to imagine America without the National 
Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend and colleague from Rhode Island (Mr. 
Langevin) for leading this effort and for convening this Special Order 
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Congressman Cicilline from Rhode 
Island for his comments and also for his partnership in helping to 
support the arts and humanities back home in Rhode Island and in our 
country as a whole. As the gentleman said, we have a special connection 
to the arts and humanities, given the leadership of our late senior 
Senator Claiborne Pell who created the National Endowment for the Arts 
and Humanities in the first place, along with the support of his wife, 
Nuala Pell, who David and I both know very well.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Ms. 
  Ms. ADAMS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. 
Langevin) for his dedication to the National Endowment for the Arts and 
the National Endowment for the Humanities, and for organizing this 
Special Order today.
  As the 12th Congressional District Representative from North 
Carolina, as a practicing professional artist, as an arts educator, a 
curator, and a retired 40-year visual arts professor, I am pleased to 
join with all of my colleagues expressing my support for the National 
Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. I 
want to associate myself with the previous comments made by my 
colleagues from North Carolina and New Jersey as well.
  I have learned throughout my professional arts education and arts 
management careers that, yes, the arts are nice; but beyond being nice, 
they are absolutely necessary and essential to enriching our lives.
  Artists connect the past to the present. They convey our unique 
experiences. And they are presented in many forms, sometimes familiar 
and other times unfamiliar.
  A universal language, the arts speak to people everywhere to help 
them understand diversity and cultures and some of the most complicated 
  The arts and humanities are critical for adding value to our shared 
culture. They are not just used to mark celebrations, but to challenge 
perceptions of society.
  Museums function as tools to house and preserve our collective 
history as a nation and bind us together as one community. Visual 
artists reflect on our society and they force us to reconcile our past. 
Writers record history and expose and challenge readers to different 
ideals presented in our society. Musicians transcend social and 
cultural boundaries to connect the listener through the sound of their 
  Time and time again, we have made a conscious decision to fund the 
arts and the humanities, signaling that we intrinsically value the arts 
as being crucial to our collective identity.
  The NEA and the NEH have been and continue to be necessary to the 
success of the arts and humanities in my home State of North Carolina. 
As a Representative of Charlotte, one of the largest cities in the 
South, I understand how important the NEA and the NEH is to Charlotte's 
unique and thriving art culture.
  In 2016, the NEA invested $60,000 in grants in Charlotte for programs 
such as the Children's Theatre of Charlotte Inc.'s performance of the 
``Journey to Oz'' and the McColl Center for Art and Innovation's 
exhibition and residency featuring Latino and Hispanic artists. NEA 
grants make these cultural events possible not just in my State, but in 
States throughout this Nation.
  The arts not only provide entertainment, but they also encourage us 
to think critically. Advocates and researchers have shown that the arts 
have a positive impact on a young person's development. And because of 
this understanding, the arts and music were included in the Every 
Student Succeeds Act as part of a well-rounded education.
  The NEA is a critical component to ensuring strong arts education in 
our schools. Through direct grants, the NEA is able to support crucial 
preschool through 12th grade education projects.

  By establishing partnerships with our colleges and universities, the 
NEA is able to engage with our institutions of higher learning to 
provide necessary grants to preserve and restore historic works of art.
  As a college art professor, I had the privilege of working with the 
NEA to secure a matching grant, which allowed the college to preserve 
and restore a historic painting by Aaron Douglas, the father of the 
Harlem Renaissance.
  In order to continue to ensure that our students remain competitive 
in a global society, we must continue to fund the arts.
  In addition to the cultural and educational impact of the arts, they 
play an important role in helping our veterans transition to civilian 
life and combat physical and mental illnesses. Through the NEA Military 
Healing Arts Partnership, the NEA has worked with the Department of 
Defense to create an art therapy program to treat servicemembers with 
traumatic brain injuries and associated psychological health issues at 
the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. This program places 
art therapy at the center of a multidisciplinary treatment approach.
  Through art therapy, our brave servicemen and -women are able to 
receive specialized treatment that enable them to heal both their 
physical and their mental wounds. Participants in the program have 
found relief and have seen vast improvements in sleep, communication, 
pain, and their ability to confront emotional challenges. This program 
has also invested in critical research on the impacts and the benefits 
of this treatment.
  The NEA's budget for fiscal year 2017 was $148 million, just .004 
percent of the Federal budget, a small amount.
  Through a relatively small investment in the arts, we are able to 
yield large returns. Not only do the arts serve us culturally in terms 
of being significant, but the nonprofit arts and the cultural sector is 
an economic driver, supporting about 4.13 million jobs and contributing 
to a gross domestic product of 4.2 percent, or about $729 billion.

                              {time}  1145

  The arts are crucial. They are critical to our culture. They are 
crucial to our education and to our economy. And in all respects, it is 
the arts that make us human. So funding for NEA and the NEH must remain 
in the Federal budget.
  I would urge my colleagues to support us in that effort to keep the 
arts as a viable part of our budget, which means that it will be a 
viable part of our communities.
  I thank the gentleman so much for putting together this Special Order 
and for allowing me to have input today.
  Mr. LANGEVIN. I thank the gentlewoman for her presence here today 

[[Page H2775]]

most especially, for her outstanding words and participation in this 
effort. Thank you for what you have contributed here today, your 
wonderful perspective. I hope it catches the President's attention and, 
hopefully, reverses this effort to zero out funding for the National 
Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.
  Mr. Speaker, some may think of the arts and humanities as just 
luxuries or extras, but they are not. They are central to who we are. 
It is also about the jobs they create and how the artists and the folks 
from the humanities contribute to our economy, people who earn a living 
and pay taxes and, again, are a vibrant part of our communities, our 
States, and our country. So that is something else that is important to 
  Mr. Speaker, I am very proud now to yield to my colleague from New 
York (Mr. Tonko), who has an important perspective to offer.
  Mr. TONKO. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Rhode Island for 
yielding. Thank you, Representative Langevin, for leading us in this 
hour, and also for your great leadership on behalf of the arts and 
  I am very pleased to join my colleagues in taking this time to speak 
about the critical importance of the National Endowment for the Arts, 
NEA, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, NEH.
  Any great civil society will grow even stronger by embracing the arts 
and humanities, and certainly America, when she embraces the arts and 
the humanities, grows to the greatest potential; so the greatness of 
America is reflected by that interest and that investment.
  At a time when some are arguing that we must cut our way to success, 
I would remind them that investments in the arts and in humanities are 
investments in our workforce and in our economy. I fully support 
funding for these programs.
  The National Endowment for the Arts provides a foundation for 
America's artistic excellence, her creativity, and innovation that 
benefits individuals, communities, and our industries.
  As NEA Chair Jane Chu once said: ``Although many may not realize it, 
the arts actively intersect with areas such as the economy, human 
development, and community vitality.''
  The NEA, as a strong sponsor of the arts and artists, is an integral 
source of strength at these intersections, challenging students to turn 
imaginative ideas into brilliant solutions for generations to come.
  Art in our communities, and especially in our schools, is indeed 
vital. It is one of the most important ways that we celebrate our 
unique regional heritage and expand our own horizons of creativity and 
  In the capital region of New York, the area that I am so proud to 
represent, we value the arts. So much of our artistic achievement would 
not be possible without the National Endowment for the Arts.
  For many years, the Albany Symphony Orchestra has received NEA grants 
in support of the American Music Festival.
  The Arts Center of the Capital Region has received NEA grants for 
exhibitions, workshops, and master classes.
  Yaddo has been the recipient of many NEA grants to support 
residencies for collaborative teams.
  Fence magazine uses NEA grants for publication of books of poetry and 
  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was just awarded an NEA grant for 
residencies to create works investigating the intersection of art, 
media, technology, and, yes, science.
  Without the NEA, these programs would not be there to enrich our 
communities and our lives.
  National Endowment for the Humanities awards also support research 
and innovation, strengthen critical thinking and writing skills, as 
well as strengthen humanities education in all institutions of 
  Supporting the growth of the humanities in our communities is just as 
essential. The National Endowment for the Humanities has contributed in 
many ways to the capital region, which has a very rich history and 
heritage worthy of preservation, promotion, and celebration.
  Many of our institutes of higher education have benefited from these 
grants, including RPI, Skidmore, Union College, and SUNY Albany, to 
name a few.
  Some of the projects that have been funded by NEH include the 
Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, which 
explores the complex relationship between the Underground Railroad, the 
end of the Civil War and Reconstruction in our region, as well as the 
influence of these events on our contemporary society.
  Investments in the humanities also drive us to be better citizens. 
NEH has supported the League of Women Voters of New York State 
Education Foundation, which is working toward the celebration of 
women's right to vote and the 100th anniversary of the League of Women 
Voters in New York State to celebrate the upcoming events commemorating 
the women's suffrage centennial.
  Grant recipients include the Girl Scouts, the Troy Boys and Girls 
Club, libraries, museums, high schools, and elementary schools. Our 
history reminds us of the pride that comes with developing community 
and neighborhood, investments that those who came before us made in 
growing families, developing households, building neighborhoods in 
powerful and meaningful ways.
  This conversation is also closely linked to two other important 
fields that are intertwined with the arts and humanities. First, I am a 
longtime supporter of America's heritage areas, special places that 
have played important roles in shaping our Nation. They tell the 
stories of people and communities, the pioneer spirit of which laid the 
foundations of our society.
  Heritage areas provide enormous economic benefits, and I greatly 
appreciate the work that the Erie Canalway and Hudson Valley heritage 
areas have done for upstate New York. As the co-chair of the 
Congressional National Heritage Area Caucus, I continue to be impressed 
by how the entire National Heritage Areas program operates on a very 
small budget. These cost-effective programs create jobs and grow our 
local economies.
  In fact, each Federal dollar invested in this program leverages more 
than $5 in non-Federal funds. That is exactly the kind of smart 
investing we need to see more of.
  By the way, thank you to the 77 Members who joined me in supporting 
funding for heritage areas.
  I am also supporting funding for the Institute of Museum and Library 
Services because museums are a vital part of our communities and 
educational infrastructure. These museums collectively employ 400,000 
Americans and have an impact of $20 billion in their communities.
  During my time in Congress, I have been a steadfast advocate for our 
Nation's museums, and I have urged my colleagues to robustly fund the 
Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary agency that 
supports our Nation's 33,000 museums. It is highly accountable, and its 
great competitive, peer-reviewed grants programs serve all States.
  This year, we had 166 Members signing on to that letter. So it is 
very obvious, NEH, NEA, IMLS, and National Heritage Areas are 
fundamental investments in our communities. They make life richer, more 
meaningful; they inspire us; they challenge us. They need to be funded. 
Let's move forward with the critical funding they require and deserve.
  Mr. LANGEVIN. I thank the gentleman from New York for his comments 
and for his leadership on this issue.
  Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time we have remaining?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Ferguson). The gentleman from Rhode 
Island has approximately 12 minutes remaining.
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to yield now to the gentleman 
from Illinois (Mr. Foster).
  Mr. FOSTER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentleman from 
Rhode Island for yielding and for leading this important conversation.
  We come here today to call attention to a misguided turn that this 
administration proposes to take in our country's cultural history.
  I am the only Ph.D physicist in Congress, so I frequently come to the 
floor to speak out in defense of science and scientific research, but I 
am here today

[[Page H2776]]

for another reason, to call attention to the grave threat that 
President Trump's budget poses to the future of our country's arts and 
  What is it that makes a country great; and how will our country be 
viewed a generation from now, a century from now, or in the next 
  To answer this question, we can only look to the great nations of the 
past. Why was Athens great in a way that Sparta never was?
  Why is Florence, under the Medici, revered and remembered in a way 
that its forgotten competitors never are?
  It is because, after they defended their homeland, after they 
conquered their rivals in war, after they triumphed in commerce, those 
countries invested a significant fraction of their national wealth in 
things that had nothing to do with material conquest.
  The Medici supported the science and the art of Leonardo da Vinci, 
Michelangelo, and the Renaissance masters; and Athens supported the 
immortal accomplishments of the Greek storytellers, historians, 
artists, and philosophers, and that is what made them great.
  For many decades, our country has supported the arts and humanities 
through the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities. Now 
our President has proposed a budget that would cut these Endowments 
completely in favor of more defense spending and a useless wall on our 
southern border.
  The National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities provide 
critical funding for students and organizations throughout the country, 
including in my district in Illinois. His budget proposes that we wipe 
them away completely. These cuts might make the President feel like a 
hero in the short term, but they will be a disaster for our country's 
place in human history.
  Programs that support understanding of the arts and humanities play a 
vital role in our society. They give us knowledge and a shared cultural 
base that we rely on every day, regardless of what career we go into. 
And they also help children and students of all ages embrace the 
complexity and the wonder of humanity.
  History, literature, and the arts connect us to a common past and 
allow us to explore our differences and to understand places beyond our 
own imaginations. Simply put, the arts and humanities teach us how to 
be compassionate and understanding toward other people. This is what 
makes America truly great.
  The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Humanities help show us what it means to be human because, 
regardless of who you are and what you do, knowledge, empathy, and 
compassion are the national values and the human values that we need to 
defend, not with bombs and fighter jets, but with sustained support and 
the cultivation of knowledge and culture.
  Now, for most of my career in science, I worked at Fermi National 
Accelerator Laboratory. The founding director of Fermilab, Robert 
Wilson, spoke eloquently about this over 40 years ago. Bob was a 
physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project and who walked away 
from his security clearance and dedicated his life to pure science, to 
building giant accelerators, experiments, international collaborations 
at Fermilab to explore the fundamental properties of matter.

  He was also an artist who, after he made all of the magnets and 
particle accelerators, then filled his laboratory with graceful and 
imaginative art.
  In 1969, he was called to testify in front of the Joint Committee on 
Atomic Energy to answer why it was that we were spending all of this 
money at Fermilab during the Cold War and what all this had to do with 
the national defense.
  Robert Wilson looked the committee in the eye and said that all of 
the work at Fermilab, driven by natural human curiosity, has nothing at 
all to do with the national defense except, perhaps, to make our 
country more worth defending.
  So I would hope that a President so bent on building his wall and 
increasing our defense budget by over $50 billion, to the detriment of 
funding for education, science, and the arts, would pause for a moment 
and heed those words from history so that a century from now, when our 
children and grandchildren look back on this time in our country's 
history, they will see that the human values of our country were always 
what made it more worth defending, in part, because of the greatness 
that the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities have 
sustained for decades.
  So I thank my colleague from Rhode Island for this important 
  Mr. LANGEVIN. I thank the gentleman from Illinois for his great 
comments and for his participation here today. It is very deeply 
impactful, and I am grateful.
  Mr. Speaker, may I inquire how much time remains?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Rhode Island has 
approximately 7 minutes remaining.
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, like my colleagues, I too have stories of 
the impact that the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities 
have back home, and some of these stories are small and deeply 
personal. I would like to thank the wonderful leaders of the Rhode 
Island Arts and Humanities Council for helping to collect them so that 
I can share them with everyone here today.

                              {time}  1200

  The State of Rhode Island is deeply indebted to Randy Rosenbaum and 
Dr. Elizabeth Francis for their work in promoting the arts and 
humanities. The State councils are an essential component of the 
Endowments' efforts, and we are incredibly lucky in Rhode Island to 
have Elizabeth and Randy heading up our initiatives.
  One of the stories they shared comes from FirstWorks, an NEA-
supported organization that helps connect students experiencing new 
types of performance with artists premiering new pieces. FirstWorks 
recently helped bring together a Philadelphia hip-hop group with high 
school students in downtown Providence. The students participated in a 
workshop with one of the dancers one day and followed it up with a 
lecture and a matinee performance the next.
  FirstWorks had just created a Spanish-language version of their 
student survey, which they administered after the matinee performance. 
Students were asked to rate their enjoyment and explain why they gave 
their answer. Two Spanish-speaking students responded that they loved 
the performance because it was ``the first time they went to one.''
  The FirstWorks team weren't exactly sure what the students meant. Was 
it the first matinee? Was it the first time seeing the hip-hop group? 
So they followed up with the teacher, who wrote back: ``These students 
have never been to a live performance. It just goes to show you how 
important these opportunities are for our population. They will 
remember this forever.''
  This is the kind of impact the arts can have on our communities.
  Another story comes from an artist who has, with the help of State 
Arts Council funding, been working with underserved communities for 6 
years. She helps students learn to apply themselves to art projects in 
a way that builds self-confidence and helps them learn the power of 
their imaginations. About an elementary school student named Danny, she 
wrote: ``When I first started working with him, he did nothing but 
whine and cry and insist he couldn't do anything. With my 
encouragement, he took his own ideas and went with them--in a puppet 
workshop, he made three stuffed animals instead. He sleeps with them 
every night now. They make him feel safe.''
  There are hundreds of these stories in Rhode Island alone, and they 
would simply not be possible without the support of the Endowments.
  Of course, some projects supported by NEA and NEH are on a much 
larger scale. It is virtually impossible right now to find a Rhode 
Islander who, today, doesn't know about WaterFire, Providence's 
massively successful creative placemaking project. I have experienced 
this wonderful WaterFire many times myself.
  For those of my colleagues who have not had the pleasure of attending 
a WaterFire--and, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to extend an invitation to 
all of my colleagues to come and to visit--it is a dynamic sculpture, 
basically, with dozens of these metal baskets or metal braziers 
transforming the rivers of downtown Providence.

[[Page H2777]]

  This groundbreaking artwork has completely transformed Saturday 
nights in Providence, with tens of thousands of people flocking 
downtown for each lighting and the performances, music, and camaraderie 
that accompany it. It is hard to describe it in words, but it has been 
transformative. WaterFire really has fundamentally altered the way 
Providence is viewed and the way the people of Providence view 
themselves. Support from NEA is helping WaterFire further explore 
creative placemaking, and it is incredibly meaningful.
  A final thought to share comes from Professor Touba Ghadessi, a board 
member for the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities. Professor 
Ghadessi was asked to share her thoughts on why NEH matters for all 
Rhode Islanders, and I truly cannot improve upon her words. This is 
what she had to say:
  ``The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities uncovers beautiful 
stories about individuals and places and brings them to life--these 
stories become our history and make us understand that we, too, write 
the narratives that construct culture. The intentionally diverse 
programming that RICH supports builds communities that, eventually, 
will view diversity as normalcy--this normalcy is the one I aspire to 
construct for the next generation. RICH allows for our best selves to 
come forward and celebrate together what culture teaches us--from the 
struggles of social justice, to the legacy of first peoples, to the 
craft of filmmaking for children. All of these things matter. All of 
these things make us better human beings. All of these things turn us 
into ethical and engaged citizens of the world. Without an 
understanding of the humanities, opinions become facts and truth is 
debatable. History has offered us a roadmap to behaving with 
integrity--we can't ignore it or ignorance wins.''
  Mr. Speaker, I cannot think of more important words for these times, 
and I would ask all of my colleagues to reflect on what it will take to 
view diversity as normalcy and why it seems today that the truth is 
  Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues for being here today. I am 
proud to share my thoughts on why it is so important that we not zero 
out the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and the 
incredible impact they have on our communities.
  I have one more story from my district about the impact of the arts 
and humanities that I'd like to share.
  It, too, relates to the legacy of Senator Pell, but it also points to 
the broader cuts to arts and humanities in the President's budget 
  A decade after the passage of the National Foundation for the Arts 
and Humanities Act, Senator Pell was again at the forefront of cultural 
preservation and promotion when he sponsored legislation creating the 
Office of Museum Services.
  While the Office was eventually rolled into the Institute of Museum 
and Library Services, it continues to support great work, which I saw 
firsthand last year in my district when the Tomaquaq Museum in Exeter 
was awarded the prestigious National Medal for Museum and Library 
  Recently, we in Rhode Island have been celebrating the 350th 
anniversary of our charter and Roger Williams's respect for the 
Indigenous People he lived among.
  But far too often, this story treats Rhode Island's tribes as bit 
players rather than delving into their rich culture and history.
  The Tomaquag Museum's founders recognized this flaw in the narrative 
in the 1950s, and while I'm disappointed it took the rest of us so long 
to catch up, I'm incredibly proud of all the recognition it's received 
of late.
  The Tomaquag Museum remains the only Rhode Island institution 
dedicated solely to the history and culture of the state's indigenous 
population, and I have experienced its power to start conversations and 
change attitudes in our communities.
  Unfortunately, IMLS, too, is slated for defending under the 
President's budget outline.
  We are very lucky that my home state Senator, Jack Reed, has taken up 
Senator Pell's mantle in pushing for its reauthorization and full 
  But it is important that all of my colleagues join together to 
protect the NEA, the NEH, IMLS, and support for the arts and humanities 
throughout the federal budget.
  We must do so because of the lives touched and forever altered by 
these organizations.
  We must do so in order to achieve a better understanding of the past, 
a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future.
  We must do so because it is good policy.
  I hope that hearing the stories shared today has helped cement that 
fact in the minds of my colleagues, and I look forward to working with 
them to continue to promote the arts and humanities.
  With that, I again thank all my colleagues who joined me this 
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.