Panel Slashes Endowment for Arts by $89.5 Million

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A House Appropriations subcommittee voted 6-5 along party lines Tuesday to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to $10 million next year.

This year the agency received $99.5 million, meaning Republicans in Congress are nearing their goal of killing the agency. It distributes grants to artists nationwide. The $10 million is what endowment officials say they would need to close down.

The endowment has come under fire for grants that many conservatives have found objectionable. But Rep. Norman Dicks, D-Wash., said, "I happen to believe that this is not frivolous. This is important work that's being done. It deserves support." Agency Chairwoman Jane Alexander defended the endowment in a written statement. "Today's action reflects the House Republican leadership's misguided effort to shut down an agency that richly serves our communities. This is just the first round in a battle that once again puts politics above the will of the American people. …