Nina explains the debt limit deal

The amazing Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Executive Director of Americans for the Arts, has proven her keen insights into policy matters over many years, and getting on that organization’s mailing list is an essential step toward learning more about the arts across the country, and how our government policies impact what we do.

Yesterday’s explanation of the current debt ceiling is another example of why we need experienced arts leaders to help the rest of us see what’s happening around us. If you’re not currently following organizations like Americans for the Arts, consider getting on their mailing list or even joining and/or donating to organizations like this one. They fight for the arts every day. (Thanks, Nina and team!)

June 1, 2023

It appears the latest national economic crisis will be averted as the U.S. House of Representatives passes by a vote of 314-117, the national debt deal secured by President Biden, Speaker of the House McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Schumer. “The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023” bill now moves to the Senate as early as tonight and will conclude with the President’s signature for final enactment before the June 5th Treasury advisory deadline of when the federal government runs out of money to pay its bills and employees.

It’s interesting that the Republican-controlled House vote was carried by more Democrats (165) than Republicans (149). In opposition to the bill were primarily the far left and far right members of both parties. To see how your Representative voted, please click “show” on “House vote to approve the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (May 31, 2023)“ on the Ballotpedia website.

Here are some highlights/lowlights of the legislation:

Increases the debt limit through January 1, 2025.

Rescinds $28 billion of still unused ARPA generated COVID Relief funds from over 120 federal accounts, including the National Endowment for the Arts ($3.25 million), National Endowment for the Humanities ($190,000), Institute of Museum and Library Services ($2.05 million).

FY 2024 and FY 2025 budget caps placed on Discretionary Spending programs for the next two years divided between Defense Spending and Non-Defense Spending, which includes transportation, child welfare, infrastructure, education, workforce, environment, the arts, and much more.

Budget Chart

An incentive was put in place to prevent a future government shut down by encouraging completion of all 12 of the FY 2024 discretionary appropriations bills by January 1, 2024; otherwise, the agreed upon spending caps above for FY 2024 will be further reduced by 1%.

For future years FY 2026-2029, overall spending limits will increase each year by 1%.

Work requirements added to those on federal aid programs, such as food stamps.

Agreed upon conclusion to President Biden’s executive orders to pause repayment of federal student loans. Repayments will now resume on or about September 1, 2023. Note: On a similar but different issue concerning federal student loans, the Supreme Court should be releasing its decision this month on the issue of whether constitutionally, President Biden can fully forgive up to $20,000 in student loans to qualifying students. Stay tuned.

What’s Next in the Legislative Timeline

The House of Representatives will very soon allocate spending caps to its 12 Appropriations Subcommittees that will stay within the $1.590 trillion overall cap deal. The House will have a very active month in June marking up all 12 appropriations bills to send them over to the Senate. Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund will be lobbying on arts and culture, arts education, and arts in the military funding issues during this time. It is very likely that the Republican-controlled House will spend their $1.590 trillion very differently than the Democratic-controlled Senate, so serious conference negotiations and disputes in the fall are expected.

Next Monthly Office Hours with Nina

Reminder that the next monthly Zoom Office Hours with Nina will be on Friday, June 16, 2023, at 11:00am ET to discuss both technical and topical issues. To see all future dates, visit our website.

​Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

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