The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Park Service would receive major boosts in funding under the House Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies fiscal year (FY) 2009 “Chairman’s Mark” that was approved on June 11. The full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the bill on June 18.
In fiscal year 2009, NEH would receive an increase of $15 million, or 10.6%, over its FY 2008 appropriation. NEH’s budget would go from the current $145 million to $160 million. This would be in parity with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which would also see a $15 million increase over last year’s number up to $160 million. The Bush administration had requested $144 million for NEH and $128 million for NEA in its proposed FY ’09 budgets respectively.
The Smithsonian Institution’s budget would see a 15.8% increase of $108 million over FY 2008. The Smithsonian would receive $791 million in FY ’09 versus $683 million in the current fiscal year.
The National Park Service would receive an overall $254 million increase or 10.6% up to a level of $2,390,000. Of that amount, the NPS Operations budget would receive a 7.8% increase or $154 million more than the FY ’08 level of $1,971,000,000.
The “Chairman’s Mark” also includes $175 million in funding to begin a multi-year effort to revitalize the National Mall in Washington, D.C. $100 million is designated for National Park Service projects on the Mall, and $75 million would fund repairs at the Arts & Industries Building of the Smithsonian that has been closed for three years due to safety concerns.
While it is still very early in the appropriations process, these intial proposed increases in funding are a promising start and show congressional support for these three vital agencies.