9:16 PM EDT

Paul Gosar, R-AZ 1st

Mr. GOSAR. I rise today to offer an amendment to H.R. 2584, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2012.

This summer, over a million acres of Forest Service lands, as well as another 600,000 acres of Federal, State, and private lands, burned throughout the American Southwest. Those fires are costing millions of taxpayer dollars and immediate fire response, and will cost many millions more in restoration and rehabilitation in the months and years ahead. These fires reinforce the urgent need for landscape-scale restoration.

My amendment ensures this body fully funds proactive, large-scale treatments to our national forests that will reduce wildfire risk, ultimately saving the Federal Government from having to use an astronomical amount of money for fire suppression and expensive post-fire rehab.

Specifically, my amendment increases the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program by $10 million, fully funding it at the U.S. Forest Service budget request. Authorized in fiscal year 2009, CFLRP was designed to encourage collaborative, science-based, large-scale thinning and ecosystem restoration. The program recognizes that future forest management will be most effective if it is planned and implemented in a collaborative framework through private-public partnerships at the landscape

level.

As an offset, the amendment decreases a related funding account, the Wildland Fire Management-Hazardous Fuel account, by $16.6 million. The Hazardous Fuel account is funded at $334 million in the underlying bill, $80 million above the President's budget request. The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed my amendment does not increase 2012 outlays.

[Time: 20:10]

While forest treatments focused solely on hazardous fuel reduction around communities may be appropriate in many cases, they do not achieve the enduring fire protection and ecosystem restoration that are urgently required. There are roughly 80 million acres of forest across the West that are overgrown and ripe for catastrophic wildfire, according to the Landfire multi-agency database. We simply cannot afford the status quo, using taxpayer dollars for 100 percent of the large-scale restoration

work necessary to prevent unnatural fires like the Wallow fire in Arizona and New Mexico.

If we are going to save what is left of our forests, we must change our priorities and aggressively treat our forests at the pace and scale these fires are occurring. Congress must fully fund proactive collaborative large-scale forest restoration treatments if it truly wants to reverse the degradation of our forests while simultaneously reducing the risk of catastrophic fires.

The private-public partnerships facilitated through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program empowers private industry to do important science-based ecological restoration work while minimizing the cost to the American taxpayer. In 2010, 10 landscape-scale restoration projects were selected for the CFLR program. These programs are located in nine States: Montana, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

In the case of the Arizona project, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, known as 4FRI, calls for the Forest Service to contract with economically viable, appropriately scaled industries capable of restoring tens of thousands of acres per year. Once a contract is awarded, it is estimated that the 2.4 million-acre project will be completed at little or no cost to the Federal Government.

Because of this promise, the project has garnered bipartisan support in the Arizona House congressional delegation as well as the support of Senators McCain and Kyl, Governor Jan Brewer, leaders in the State legislature, the affected counties and cities, and an unprecedented range of environmental groups, such as the Center for Biological Diversity and industry partners.

Full funding for the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program ensures that the 10 existing projects, which are urgently needed, will continue to move expeditiously while allowing the CFLRP to expand into more of the estimated 80 million acres of overgrown and wildfire-prone Forest Service lands across the country that need to be properly treated.

When the Federal Government partners with local government, stakeholder groups, and private industry, together we can create much needed jobs and a safer environment for our citizens. Landscape-scale, fiscally responsible forest restoration treatments are the only way the country is going to make real progress towards proper forest health.

I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the Gosar Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

9:16 PM EDT

Louise Slaughter, D-NY 28th

Ms. SLAUGHTER. The National Endowment for the Arts has a 40-year history of investing in communities across the country to expand access to the arts. The NEA has awarded 2,400 grants, spanning communities in all 435 congressional districts.

The proposed cuts to the NEA would have a crippling effect on a program that has been proven to work. Often when I talk about the arts and how I feel about them, I always say how thankful I am to be able to work in an art building that is a masterpiece, but I'm going to be practical tonight. All we're interested in is money, and that's what I'm going to talk about. I hope that people will pay attention to what we get for that little bit of money.

In FY 2010, the Federal Government invested $167.5 million in the NEA for the purpose of providing funding to nonprofit arts organizations. That funding created $166.2 billion in total economic activity, supported 5.7 million jobs, and--listen to this one--generated to the U.S. Treasury $12.6 billion in tax revenue. That does not include the State tax revenue or the local tax revenue. So we spent $167 million and got back $12.6 billion.

I defy anybody in here to tell us that we get that kind of return on any money we spend here. I wish we could find more ways to multiply our money by such a magnitude while enhancing the public good at the same time. Investment opportunities like these are few and far between, and we should be expanding our investment in such a successful program, not cutting its funding to the bone.

I am the proud co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, a group that has supported the NEA for almost 30 years. The Arts Caucus is composed of 186 dedicated, bipartisan Members who are committed to the growth and the success of the arts. Why? Because the arts make a difference.

The NEA reached its peak level of funding in fiscal year 1992, but it has never fully recovered from a 40 percent cut in fiscal year 1996 when, once again, people mischaracterized the work of the NEA. We have seen progress with increasing NEA funding since fiscal year 2008, but just last year, the NEA was forced to deal with a crippling cut again to its annual budget. If this year's appropriations bill takes effect, the NEA will have had its budget cut by 20 percent in just the last few months.

These cuts are not sustainable and do great harm to the success of the arts sector across the country.

There is widespread national support for the NEA and the arts, including from companies like Westinghouse and Bravo. Actually, what really happened so much for us that was so good was when Bravo and Westinghouse particularly said they would rather hire people who had backgrounds in art because of what they were able to do--their innovation and using both sides of the brain. Bravo was wonderful, advertising all the time how important arts are to the children in this country. The bipartisan U.S.

Conference of Mayors made art a priority in their 10-point plan, saying Federal resources must also be invested in nonprofit arts organizations through their local arts agencies with the full funding of the Federal arts and cultural agencies.

[Time: 21:20]

In addition, I have a letter from 26 national art organizations urging Congress to prevent any further reduction to the investment in our Nation's arts and culture infrastructure, which I would like to submit for the RECORD.

The simple truth is that funding of the arts creates jobs. There are 756,007 arts-related businesses in the United States that employ 3 million people. In my district, there are 1,229 arts-related businesses that employ 15,864 people. And remember what's already been said so well by Mr. Simpson is that this is seed money from the National Endowment of the Arts which brings in other money--public money, private money--which is terribly important to make these programs survive. And these

programs, as I've already pointed out, are an economic gold mine. They employ creative workforce, they spend money locally, they generate government revenue, and are a cornerstone of tourism and economic development.

Along with creating and supporting jobs, the arts provide job skills to our Nation's youth--this is very important to understand--that are marketable to the innovative companies that drive our economy and push America to the forefront in the global marketplace. I've already mentioned Westinghouse, but there are many more.

Exposure to the arts fosters learning, discovery, and achievement in our country. This is, again, simply a fact. Research has proven participation in arts education programs stimulate the creative, holistic, subjective, and intuitive portions of the human brain.

The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman from New York has expired.

(By unanimous consent, Ms. Slaughter was allowed to proceed for 2 additional minutes.)

9:24 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Idaho is recognized for 5 minutes. [Page: H5651]

9:24 PM EDT

David N. Cicilline, D-RI 1st

Mr. CICILLINE. In Congress, we have to, of course, responsibly cut spending, but at the same time we also have to make the necessary investments that create jobs now, guarantee the future strength of our economy, and renew the vitality of our communities. And that's why we should absolutely reject this effort to further reduce the investment, our Nation's investment, in the National Endowment for the Arts.

Our targeted Federal investment in the arts through the NEA is very modest and is really crucial to spurring the contributions of corporate and foundation partners through their support through philanthropy, sponsorships, and volunteerism that help to sustain and leverage arts investments in communities all across this country.

This investment in the arts becomes all the more important during a time when States and cities all across this country face greater and greater fiscal constraints and at the same time are searching for opportunities to leverage Federal dollars and to spur economic development and job creation.

I represent a State that has realized an extraordinary return on investments generated by the arts. In Rhode Island, the presence of the arts is really sown into the fabric of our communities and of our economy. According to recent data from Americans for the Arts, in just the First Congressional District, in my district alone, more than 1,400 arts-related businesses employ nearly 6,000 people, and that represents more than 5 percent of the businesses in my district.

As the former mayor of Providence, I've seen firsthand the economic impact of the arts and the power of art to transform people and places.

I know the benefits of the arts in enriching our communities and uniting them as well. Arts nourish our soul.

The United States Conference of Mayors sent a letter to Members of Congress urging us to protect funding in the arts and to reject this amendment, recognizing that arts create jobs and produce tax revenues, that arts put people to work, and that arts attract tourism revenue. Arts in the creative industries are an enormous part of what fuels our local economies, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to our cities, generating activity in restaurants, hotels, transportation, and hospitality

services.

This activity not only strengthens the vitality of our communities, it generates revenues for State and local governments. Across our country, the arts industry provides much more than aesthetic benefits. It creates meaningful economic benefits and opportunities.

During this period of budget austerity, we shouldn't neglect those investments with a proven positive rate of return. We shouldn't siphon off the fuel that helps power the American arts industry, a sector of our economy comprised of more than 750,000 businesses, employing nearly 3 million people nationwide, and generating more than $166 billion in economic activity.

Cutting the National Endowment for the Arts undermines our responsibility to create jobs and grow our economy, and diminishes us as a Nation.

As one study demonstrates, when we consider the overall direct Federal cultural spending of $1.4 billion, we're achieving a return on investment that's nearly 9 to 1. If we're really serious about strengthening our economy, putting more Americans back to work, and reining in our deficit, then we have to be smart about our investments and about our reductions.

With estimates indicating that every dollar of Federal funds invested in the arts generates $9 in economic benefits, further reductions to the National Endowment of the Arts are counterproductive and, in fact, will move our Nation backwards. It moves us backwards not only in the effect that we lose the immediate economic return on the investments, but this cut also pushes our country further behind our competitors and the global economy.

It was one of the great giants of the United States Senate, the great and passionate leadership of Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell, that led to the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965, the program that we're fighting to defend today. In 1963, Senator Pell opened hearings on preliminary legislation on this issue by stating, ``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 concepts we seek to advance, a true renaissance, the reawakening, the quickening, and above all, the unstunted growth of our cultural vitality.''

In those words Senator Pell said clearly that this disinvestment that we're discussing today for the National Endowment for the Arts nearly 50 years later is a stark and appalling contrast to the renaissance and reawakening embodied in the National Endowment for the Arts.

For too long, the arts have been the first target for spending cuts in our public schools and here at the Federal level. It is at our own economic peril that we continue to deprive our youth and our communities of their connection to the arts.

The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.

[Time: 21:30]

9:30 PM EDT

Lynn Woolsey, D-CA 6th

Ms. WOOLSEY. As sure as Wednesday follows Tuesday, you can count on congressional Republicans to propose gutting programs benefiting the arts and humanities. It's as predictable as it is irresponsible and unwise. It's the same old penny-wise, pound-foolish approach we have come to expect from a party that wants to spend lavishly on corporate giveaways while cutting just about every initiative that empowers the American people and improves lives and our communities.

I can't believe that while the Nation stands on the brink of default, while Republican stubbornness puts us less than a week away from economic calamity, we're having a debate about funding for the arts that represents 3 [Page: H5656]

cents, 3 cents for every $100 of nonmilitary discretionary spending. Three cents, Mr. Chairman.

Believe me, the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts isn't breaking the bank. Grants to support museums and theater companies are not what caused a huge deficit, and cutting them will not put us on a fiscally responsible course. In fact, investments in the arts more than pay for themselves. For every $1 spent on arts programs, the country gets back $9 in economic benefit.

My friends on the other side of the aisle love to make arts funding a scapegoat. They never miss an opportunity to turn a spending debate into a culture war referendum on art. But let's be clear: The arts represent a vital economic industry, a mainstream employer of millions of Americans, and an integral part of a functioning society. The nonprofit arts sector generates more than $12 billion in tax revenues and more than $166 billion in economic activity every single year.

Communities that have a vibrant artistic life are magnets for tourism and new businesses that create jobs. There's also evidence that communities that embrace the arts tend to have higher real estate values, more civic activities and volunteerism, less crime, and lower poverty rates.

The arts are also a critical ingredient in the development of our children, with research showing that students receiving arts education perform better academically and are more likely to succeed in life.

But despite all the ways that arts support the common good, Republican leaders want to cut NEA. Instead, Mr. Chairman, I think it's time we cut Big Oil subsidies and cut loopholes for corporate jet owners. Arts programs have already taken a budget hit in recent years and are trying to do more with less. If we can give billions in subsidies to oil companies that are already raking in record profits, then surely we can maintain modest investments in the nonprofit arts sector that makes a vital

contribution to American life.

Let's stop blaming small agencies for a fiscal crisis that was caused by three wars and tax cuts for the people who need them the least. Let's maintain robust funding for NEA.

With that, I yield the remainder of my time to the gentleman from Rhode Island.

9:34 PM EDT

David N. Cicilline, D-RI 1st

Mr. CICILLINE. I thank the gentlewoman.

For too long the arts have been the first target for spending cuts in our public schools here at the Federal level. It is at our own economic peril that we continue to deprive our youth and our community of their connection to the arts. I have seen on so many occasions the power of music and dance and theater to ignite the imagination of a young person, that causes them to stay in school, to follow their passion, and ultimately to realize their dreams.

Today's global economy demands an even greater level of creativity, innovative thinking, and entrepreneurship, a 21st century skill set that is enhanced by exposure to the arts in learning and in daily life. I participated in an arts education roundtable with CEOs from all across the country who said that those skills of creative problem solving, of innovation, of entrepreneurship were skills they were looking for in the workers of the 21st century. And the arts nourishes and enhances those skills.

We cannot underestimate the importance of maintaining critical Federal funding for our arts to fuel our national economic recovery, to grow our local economies, to teach our children, and to expand our civic discourse during these trying economic times.

I strongly urge my colleagues to reject further reductions to the National Endowment for the Arts because now, more than ever, we need the National Endowment for the reawakening, quickening, and unstunted growth of not only our cultural vitality but of our economic prosperity as well.

9:35 PM EDT

John Yarmuth, D-KY 3rd

Mr. YARMUTH. Mr. Chairman, when we, in this House, decide how the taxpayers' money is going to be spent, it represents a statement of our values, a statement of our priorities. And the question of whether we should adequately fund the National Endowment for the Arts is one of those that speaks loudly to our values. It speaks loudly to our respect for the creative genius of human beings. It speaks loudly about our understanding of what the human soul is about.

We've heard much documentation of the economic impact of the arts throughout our country, $165 billion annually in economic activity. I certainly can attest to the fact that in my community of Louisville, Kentucky, more than 20,000 of my constituents are involved actively, professionally in the arts. We are one of the only communities that has resident theater, resident opera, ballet, children's theater, a vibrant visual arts community. It is one of the things that significantly enhances the

quality of life in my community. It's one of those things that brings people to my community. So the economic importance of the arts is undeniable.

But I ask again about our priorities. The amount of money that we're talking about now, roughly $10 million over a period of years, we spent in the first few minutes of our activity in Libya. The first few Tomahawk missiles we launched there, that was $10 million. We spend $10 million in less than 1 hour in Afghanistan, less than 1 hour. So here we're talking about millions of jobs supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, $165 billion in economic activity, against all of

the other things we do where there is so little payback for where we spend the taxpayers' money.

There are two things I would like to mention in addition to kind of the value-added aspects of arts funding.

If you think back over the history of mankind, what has survived of the great civilizations of this world? The only thing that has survived has been the creative product of the minds of men and women throughout history. Literature, music, architecture, paintings, sculpture, these are the only things that have survived.

[Time: 21:40]

If you look around this glorious room that we have the privilege of serving in--famous painting of George Washington, Lafayette, the architecture that's represented here--this is all the creative product of the men and women of generations. This is what our soul speaks to the world, to generations to come, and this is what we're talking about funding.

One of the greatest exports that we have from this country is our cultural product. We export music; we export film; we export drama, theater, all of these things, activities funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. So when we say to our taxpayers, our constituents, what are your values, we can say, you know, those Tomahawk missiles are wonderful.

And I certainly understand that we need to defend our country. But when we talk about our contributions to the history of mankind, humankind, it is undeniable that what we invest, the small amount we invest in supporting our creative genius, will be paid back many, many times over.

So I am proud to stand here and support funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, opposing the Walberg amendment, which would further cut the funding that has already been substantially reduced, and stand for the values of the millions and millions of men and women and children who not only participate in artistic activities, but also benefit immeasurably through an enhanced quality of life in our country.

I yield back the balance of my time.

9:36 PM EDT

John Yarmuth, D-KY 3rd

Mr. YARMUTH. Mr. Chairman, when we, in this House, decide how the taxpayers' money is going to be spent, it represents a statement of our values, a statement of our priorities. And the question of whether we should adequately fund the National Endowment for the Arts is one of those that speaks loudly to our values. It speaks loudly to our respect for the creative genius of human beings. It speaks loudly about our understanding of what the human soul is about.

We've heard much documentation of the economic impact of the arts throughout our country, $165 billion annually in economic activity. I certainly can attest to the fact that in my community of Louisville, Kentucky, more than 20,000 of my constituents are involved actively, professionally in the arts. We are one of the only communities that has resident theater, resident opera, ballet, children's theater, a vibrant visual arts community. It is one of the things that significantly enhances the

quality of life in my community. It's one of those things that brings people to my community. So the economic importance of the arts is undeniable.

But I ask again about our priorities. The amount of money that we're talking about now, roughly $10 million over a period of years, we spent in the first few minutes of our activity in Libya. The first few Tomahawk missiles we launched there, that was $10 million. We spend $10 million in less than 1 hour in Afghanistan, less than 1 hour. So here we're talking about millions of jobs supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, $165 billion in economic activity, against all of

the other things we do where there is so little payback for where we spend the taxpayers' money.

There are two things I would like to mention in addition to kind of the value-added aspects of arts funding.

If you think back over the history of mankind, what has survived of the great civilizations of this world? The only thing that has survived has been the creative product of the minds of men and women throughout history. Literature, music, architecture, paintings, sculpture, these are the only things that have survived.

[Time: 21:40]

If you look around this glorious room that we have the privilege of serving in--famous painting of George Washington, Lafayette, the architecture that's represented here--this is all the creative product of the men and women of generations. This is what our soul speaks to the world, to generations to come, and this is what we're talking about funding.

One of the greatest exports that we have from this country is our cultural product. We export music; we export film; we export drama, theater, all of these things, activities funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. So when we say to our taxpayers, our constituents, what are your values, we can say, you know, those Tomahawk missiles are wonderful.

And I certainly understand that we need to defend our country. But when we talk about our contributions to the history of mankind, humankind, it is undeniable that what we invest, the small amount we invest in supporting our creative genius, will be paid back many, many times over.

So I am proud to stand here and support funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, opposing the Walberg amendment, which would further cut the funding that has already been substantially reduced, and stand for the values of the millions and millions of men and women and children who not only participate in artistic activities, but also benefit immeasurably through an enhanced quality of life in our country.

I yield back the balance of my time.

9:41 PM EDT

Rush Holt, D-NJ 12th

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, last month I gathered almost 200 individuals interested in the arts and humanities to discuss National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts programs. The turnout was impressive. But considering their eagerness to win endowment grants, it was also a reminder of how tight funding is for these critical programs.

My friend, poet Paul Muldoon, read some poetry to the attendees and reminded all, in his words, the NEA and the NEH are not properly funded. It is a national disgrace. Now, that was before the amendment that is here tonight that would cut the NEA even further. [Page: H5657]

The NEA and the NEH help ensure a well-rounded education, and result in a well-rounded society. Now, of course the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are different, but they are similar in what they bring to our Nation.

The arts and humanities inspire our children to explore their own creativity and encourage positive development in the course of their educational careers. The arts and humanities are a fundamental component of our society and they, indeed, warrant Federal funding. The arts and humanities help us know ourselves as a people.

Just a few weeks ago, here on this floor, the House approved a bill that increased the spending for the Department of Defense by $17 billion. The total funding for the endowments is hardly more than a percent of that increase in defense spending that was passed. Talk about misplaced priorities.

I'm reminded of the often told exchange between Scientist Robert Wilson, the Director of Fermilab, when he was testifying before the Senate and Senator Pastore. The Senator asked, with regard to a science experiment at Fermilab, whether it would help defend this country against the Soviet Union. Replied Dr. Wilson, no, Senator Pastore, this will not help defend us against the Soviet Union, but it will help make our country more worth defending.

This amendment is based on the premise that arts and humanities are a luxury. The author of this amendment to cut the NEA further says America is impoverished. Mr. Chairman, I'll tell you what would leave America really impoverished is if we strangle the arts and humanities.

We've heard what the arts contribute to our economy. The Americans for the Arts, in its report, Arts and Economic Prosperity, details that the arts support more than 5 million jobs and generate tens of billions of dollars in government revenue.

Arts are good for our cultural development, yes. They are good for our society at large and good for our economic development as well.

I've heard from a number of my constituents on this matter, and nearly everyone has pleaded with me to preserve as much funding as possible for the arts and for the humanities. As one of them said poignantly, ``A Nation without culture is a Nation without a soul.''

I strongly oppose this amendment and other efforts to strangle the arts and humanities in America and to defund the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

I yield back the balance of my time.

9:41 PM EDT

Rush Holt, D-NJ 12th

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, last month I gathered almost 200 individuals interested in the arts and humanities to discuss National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts programs. The turnout was impressive. But considering their eagerness to win endowment grants, it was also a reminder of how tight funding is for these critical programs.

My friend, poet Paul Muldoon, read some poetry to the attendees and reminded all, in his words, the NEA and the NEH are not properly funded. It is a national disgrace. Now, that was before the amendment that is here tonight that would cut the NEA even further. [Page: H5657]

The NEA and the NEH help ensure a well-rounded education, and result in a well-rounded society. Now, of course the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are different, but they are similar in what they bring to our Nation.

The arts and humanities inspire our children to explore their own creativity and encourage positive development in the course of their educational careers. The arts and humanities are a fundamental component of our society and they, indeed, warrant Federal funding. The arts and humanities help us know ourselves as a people.

Just a few weeks ago, here on this floor, the House approved a bill that increased the spending for the Department of Defense by $17 billion. The total funding for the endowments is hardly more than a percent of that increase in defense spending that was passed. Talk about misplaced priorities.

I'm reminded of the often told exchange between Scientist Robert Wilson, the Director of Fermilab, when he was testifying before the Senate and Senator Pastore. The Senator asked, with regard to a science experiment at Fermilab, whether it would help defend this country against the Soviet Union. Replied Dr. Wilson, no, Senator Pastore, this will not help defend us against the Soviet Union, but it will help make our country more worth defending.

This amendment is based on the premise that arts and humanities are a luxury. The author of this amendment to cut the NEA further says America is impoverished. Mr. Chairman, I'll tell you what would leave America really impoverished is if we strangle the arts and humanities.

We've heard what the arts contribute to our economy. The Americans for the Arts, in its report, Arts and Economic Prosperity, details that the arts support more than 5 million jobs and generate tens of billions of dollars in government revenue.

Arts are good for our cultural development, yes. They are good for our society at large and good for our economic development as well.

I've heard from a number of my constituents on this matter, and nearly everyone has pleaded with me to preserve as much funding as possible for the arts and for the humanities. As one of them said poignantly, ``A Nation without culture is a Nation without a soul.''

I strongly oppose this amendment and other efforts to strangle the arts and humanities in America and to defund the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

I yield back the balance of my time.

9:45 PM EDT

Bobby Scott, D-VA 3rd

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment. Our focus today ought to be on jobs. And as some of my colleagues have already said, funding the arts creates jobs. For negligible investments, we create lots of jobs, because not only are the arts supported, but when you have artistic programs, restaurants and other activities generate jobs all over the community.

And our focus ought to be on education. Those children, for example, who are involved in of the arts, do better in school.

Now we're trying to cut funding for the arts in this amendment, and we cannot ignore why all these cuts are necessary. Last December we passed a tax cut of $800 billion, $400 billion a year. Now, we're looking to make cuts. Most of the projections are that we need $4 trillion over the next 10 years in deficit reduction, $400 billion a year. I hope we don't ignore the fact that that's the same number, $400 billion tax cuts a year, and now we're looking for $400 billion spending cuts a year.

So when we talk about cutting the arts, when we talk about cutting Social Security and Medicare and education and everything else, we cannot ignore the fact that all of these cuts are designed to preserve the tax cuts that we passed last December. And so to preserve those tax cuts--many are going to millionaires, multimillionaires, and oil companies--we find ourselves having to deal with this amendment to cut the arts.

Mr. Chairman, we should not be lulled into accepting caps. Caps just delay the inevitable because caps don't cut anything today. But when you start appropriating under the caps, in a few weeks or a few months, we'll find that there's not enough money for the arts, there's not enough money for Head Start, there's not enough money for education or Social Security or Medicare. So when you accept the caps, you're ultimately going to make these cuts.

We don't have any crisis today, Mr. Chairman, because some don't want to increase the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is a perfunctory responsibility of this Congress. We've already spent the money. The debt ceiling just acknowledges what we've already done. We need to just pass the debt ceiling and get back to the regular order where we make choices.

Do we want to cut Social Security and Medicare and the arts in order to preserve tax cuts, many going to the oil companies and multimillionaires? I hope not, and we should begin by defeating this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

9:48 PM EDT

Betty McCollum, D-MN 4th

Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chair, in Minnesota we understand that the arts are an essential part of our economy and the number of jobs it creates. The arts are so vital to our economy and our development and civic life that in 2008, Minnesotans voted to amend our State constitution to raise money, yes, to tax themselves and dedicate part of the revenue to the arts.

Minnesota is the only State in the country where there's a dedicated public funding source for the arts. In our Constitution, Mr. Chair, we passed a legacy amendment. Hunters, anglers, conservationists, parents, seniors, all came together to say the arts, along with preserving our environment, is integral to our legacy, to our way of life in Minnesota.

In my district alone, the arts employ over 8,000 people. And the arts and the culture industry contributes over $830 million to Minnesota's economy. Investing in the arts makes economic sense, and it's good public policy.

As has been pointed out, for every dollar that is spent by the NEA, $9 in economic activity is generated. We must make tough choices, given this fiscal crisis, and I believe the NEA's budget has been targeted and it has been shrunk enough.

[Time: 21:50]

The NEA's budget has been cut 20 percent since 2010. Our artists, poets, writers, musicians, producers, sculptors, singers, dancers, photographers, and actors contribute millions of dollars to our local economy and create a vibrant social space for us to come together. And we hear time and time again from the major corporations and from the start-up companies, from computer companies to health care companies to our universities that it is American creativity and space for the arts that allows

America to move forward.

So I strongly oppose this cut, and I reject any further attacks on the NEA's budget.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.