Earlier this year, President Trump and his administration proposed a preliminary budget for FY18 that would eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Trump budget proposal issued in March also called for "the reduction or elimination" of the Department of Education’s Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs. In the past few months, the LSA has worked in close partnership with the National Humanities Alliance and other allies to voice support for the NEH. Humanities advocates have sent nearly 150,000 messages and phone calls to Members of Congress and President Trump about these issues. Additionally, a record-breaking number of humanities supporters convened on Capitol Hill for Humanities Advocacy Day, visiting their congressional offices and making the case for robust funding for the NEH and other humanities programs.

Despite President Trump’s budget proposal, the early efforts marshaled by LSA and its allies have already paid off. In early May, the House Appropriations Committee issued a 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill that allocated a $2 million increase for both the NEH and NEA. Letters to the President and to the appropriations committees requesting a $5 million increase for the NEH in FY 2018 have received bipartisan support. While the NHA anticipates that the appropriations committees will be supportive of the NEH, the upcoming FY 2018 appropriations process is likely to be prolonged and contentious. This poses a risk for domestic programs vulnerable to deep cuts or even elimination as appropriators are forced to make difficult choices.

Given these concerns, the LSA and NHA are working to raise awareness of the work that the NEH supports, especially regarding language and linguistics research. We are encouraging leaders of higher education institutions and other humanities organizations—as well as individual NEH grantees—to write letters to the editor about the transformative impact of arts and humanities funding. The programs that affect possible language and linguistics research include "Documenting Endangered Languages" (DEL), which is co-funded by both the NEH and NSF; Title VI or International Education, which offers domestic grants in international studies and world languages; and the Fulbright-Hayes program, which supports research and training efforts overseas in non-Western languages and area studies.

Over the coming months, it is critical that we continue to mobilize even more language advocates to increase public awareness of the impact of these programs and to demonstrate to Congress the deep support for language research across the country. Take Action by signing up for action alerts from the National Humanities Alliance, voice your support by contacting your Congressional Representative, and stay tuned to the LSA Policy Alerts and the Facebook page for more updates.