Trump Renews Bid to Eliminate Library Funding, NEA, and NEH

In its FY2019 budget proposal, unveiled today, the Trump administration has once again proposed the permanent elimination of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, as well as the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (and with it virtually all federal library funding).

The proposal comes just days after the president signed a two-year budget bill that will add as much as $400 billion in federal spending through the 2019 fiscal year, and it doubles down on Trump’s efforts to eliminate the agencies in his FY2018 budget—which the House of representatives ultimately rejected last September.

In all, federal library funding, including the IMLS budget, comes to around $231 million annually, while the NEA and NEH each have budgets of around $145 million annually.

Trump’s budget also calls for significant cuts to other domestic programs while proposing significant increases in military spending, a $200 billion increase in federal infrastructure spending, and $18 billion for Trump’s southern border wall.

In justifying the library and arts cuts, the Trump budget claims such funding is not a “core” federal responsibility, and that “it is unlikely the elimination of IMLS would result in the closure of a significant number of libraries and museums.”

In a statement, ALA president Jim Neal blasted the Trump administration’s proposal.

“The administration’s FY2019 budget is out of touch with the real needs of Americans and the priorities of leaders in Congress who represent them. The president miscalculates the value of more than 120,000 libraries across America, just as he did in his FY2018 budget proposal,” Neal said. “ALA members will continue to highlight the value of libraries to our elected leaders in every U.S. congressional district. And we are confident that our congressional leaders will continue to protect the federal programs that invest in our communities.”

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