Skip to content

Federal Cuts are About You and Me

2017 March 16
by Sheila

Photo of the Roosevelt Arch into Yellowstone National Park, taken in 2014

We all have connections to today’s release of the President’s proposed federal budget. We also know that there will be an intense period of negotiations between the House and Senate, and then with the White House. Nothing proposed is set in stone, so now is an excellent time to contact your Congressionals to voice your displeasure with the existing proposals.

There are many disturbing cuts on the table related to our ability as citizens to expect and demand clean water, safe and well-maintained roads and airways, free public education, programs that support the health and well being of the elderly and the poor, or access to national parks. Smithsonian Magazine highlighted a few major exhibitions (King Tut!) and initiatives you might not realize were funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, one of the agencies on the chopping block. Or, you may want to read Jason Rhody’s post about how the federal budget supports local libraries, arts organizations, and museums in your neighborhood.

logos of projects funded by the NEH

RRCHNM Projects Funded by the NEH

Sometimes it is difficult to see how small cuts out of a very large federal budget affect us individually. While I generally advocate for seeing the bigger picture, others have written eloquently about that. This quick post highlights some of the ways that I am personally impacted by, and connected to, some of these proposed cuts. You may be as well.

 

  • Did you attend public school? I did, K-12!
    • New budget: Shift $1.4 billion to voucher and “choice” programs that do no exist in many areas of the country. Southbury & Region 15 schools are great. I don’t want them to lose any money for options that do not exist in town.
  • How many were were able to afford college because of federal financial aid programs? I was! I qualified for subsidized student loans and the federal work study program.
    • New budget: “Significantly” reduces federal work-study aid to college students.
  • Do you like visiting national parks and historic sites? I do! They are already chronically underfunded, understaffed, and need of a boost of resources.
    • New budget: Eliminates funding for the 49 National Historic Sites, slashes the Department of Interior budget for National Parks.
  • Do you ever check out books at your public library, use their free services, or do genealogy research? Do ever visit a museum, or have your children recently been on a field trip? Listen to non-commercial radio like NPR? I do!
    • New budget: Eliminates agencies that provide major sources of funding for local libraries, museums, and public events sponsored by arts and cultural organizations in your town. If we do not speak up the following agencies will be zeroed out and eliminated:
      •  National Endowment for the Arts
      • National Endowment for the Humanities
      • Institute of Museum and Library Services
      • Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports public television and radio, including PBS and NPR
  • Do you have friends who may lose their jobs, because of these cuts? Yes, I do. My college roommate works for the Pennsylvania Sea Grant program, protecting fisheries, water safety, and healthy ecology for that area. Sea Grant is on the chopping block. Another college friend works for the Environmental Protection Agency. Multiple friends work at the NEH and IMLS.

    Logos of Projects Funded by IMLS

    RRCHNM Projects Funded by IMLS

  • Will I lose my job because of these cuts? Possibly, not immediately. My job is funded with “sponsored research funds” (not by George Mason University) that come from a matrix of grants and contracts, many of which are from federal sources that come directly to the Center to create and maintain *free* and accessible online resources, offer free professional development opportunities, engage public audiences with digital history projects, and to build & support open-source software (ie, free digital tools), many also involve collaborations with libraries, archives, and museums.
  • How will cuts to the US Coast Guard effect you? My husband is retiring from the USCG this May, but we still have friends whose jobs will be immeasurably harder if proposed cuts to the agency– that already does much more with way less– are approved.
  • {Added March 17, 2017}Do you have, or had in the past, an elderly relative or neighbor who wishes to remain in the home, living independently as long as possible? I have! My grandmother was able to live alone in her home until she was 99 years old, because of programs like Meals on Wheels. It is still unclear how these cuts will come, but with Health and Human Services losing their Community Development Block Grant program to states, (some fund programs like MOW and school lunches), plus an overall cuts to the agency that will substantially cut the Older Americans Act, a major funder of MOWs.

Even with my serious concerns, I remain optimistic that there are enough Representatives and Senators who are listening to their constituents’ calls, and that these cuts, particularly to food and nutrition programs, libraries, arts and cultural organizations, and national parks, will hit close to home. But, they need to hear from each of us.

Save the NEH and Save the IMLS petitions, http://p2a.co/kVFEeav

 

 

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Sue permalink
    March 16, 2017

    I work for an architecture firm and a majority of our work is for the National Parks. Losing funding to 49 parks could impact revenue for my firm and possibly impact my job and the jobs of any consultants we work with on a regular basis.

  2. B. Stewart permalink
    March 16, 2017

    Thank you for supporting these programs and for an eloquent explanation of real world impact.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS