According to the American Symphony Orchestra League, which has been coordinating an advocacy campaign on the subject, the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in the House of Representatives passed yesterday a $35 Million increase in the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts. According to ASOL, “This increase is significantly higher than the modest $4 million increase proposed by the President and represents a much more substantial restoration of NEA funds than has been proposed by the House committee since the NEA sustained a 40% budget cut more than a decade ago.” I don’t see any confirmation of this on the committe’s website or on the news wires yet, but ASOL presumably has a reliable source.
The proposed increase is still a long way from becoming law. If my understanding of the process is correct, the Appropriations Committe has to approve the recommendations of the Interior Committe, and then the budget has to be debated on the House floor and voted on, then debated and voted on in the Senate. Chances are that different versions will be passed in the House and Senate, so it will then have to go to Conference, where the differences will be ironed out. Then it goes back to both chambers and gets voted on again. Then it goes to the President. And at any point in here, the NEA funding increase could be used as a bargaining chip and get traded away for something else.
ASOL has a brief with background and talking points which you can read here.
UPDATE: The Chronicle of Higher Education has the story too. The proposed budget seems to be $160 Million for the NEA and $160 Million for the NEH. The $35 Million increase for the NEA would apparently be the largest increase ever. The Chronicle also confirms that this proposal hasn’t been approved by the full Appropriations Committe, so it could easily go up in smoke.