The House resumed its cultural battles Tuesday with a vote in defense of a proposed $110 million budget for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
On a 328-96 vote, the House defeated a measure by Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, that would have eliminated all funding for the NEH. The agency provides grants for education, museum exhibits, TV and radio programs and other research into the humanities.
The vote on an amendment to a spending bill was a comeback victory of sorts for supporters of federal funding for culture.
Last week the House voted 217-216 to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts. The Senate is more sympathetic to the NEA and is expected to include funds for the agency when it takes up the issue. And President Clinton has threatened to veto any spending bill that kills the federal arts agency.
Both the NEH and the NEA are funded as part of a $13 billion Interior Department spending bill that passed 238-192. With some Republican members unhappy over the demise of the NEA, the leadership delayed the final vote until they were sure they had the numbers for passage.
Chabot, in offering his amendment last week, said that while many NEH programs were worthy, the federal government should end its role of funding culture.
“These dollars should not be taken out of the pockets of hard-working taxpayers in this country and given basically to academic elites to do with what they want,” he said.
Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., countered that the NEH was crucial to spreading basic cultural values. “The routine of common existence would be just a little less rich without the services that this appropriation provides, and this Congress would be out of its head to pass this amendment,” he said. xxxx NW VOTES ON CUTTING FUNDS Idaho: Republicans - Chenoweth, yes; Crapo, yes. Washington: Republicans - Dunn, no; Hastings, yes; Metcalf, no; Nethercutt, no; Smith, Linda, yes; White, no. Democrats - Dicks, no; McDermott, no; Smith, Adam, no.