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New this week for the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts
Obama picks former Congressman for the Humanities post, and an NEA increase passes Congressional subcommittee

Published: 06-11-2009

There were a handful of announcements and activities in Washington, D.C., that involved national arts and humanities and related programs. Obama looks to a Republican former Congressman to take the top job at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a funding bill that includes an increase to the National Endowment for the Arts makes its way through Congress.

Iowa Congressman Nominated to Head the NEH

"President Obama announced on Wednesday that he plans to nominate Jim Leach, the former Republican congressman, as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities," read a New York Times article posted June 3, 2009. The Washington Post and other news sources had similar information and statements posted online on June 3 as well.

"In Congress, Mr. Leach served 15 terms as the representative of Iowa's 2nd District, holding office from 1977 to 2007," stated the Times article. " During this time, he served as chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services and was a senior member of the House Committee on International Relations."

The White House published a statement from President Obama and a biography of the former Congressman. "I am confident that with Jim as its head, the National Endowment for the Humanities will continue on its vital mission of supporting the humanities and giving the American public access to the rich resources of our culture," said the President in the statement. "Jim is a valued and dedicated public servant and I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead."

Leach's White House biography noted that since leaving Congress in 2007 he has taught at Princeton University and served as the interim director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. SEE STATEMENT/BIO

Bill Including NEA Increase Moves Through Congress

Americans for the Arts reported on its website today that "The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which sets the initial funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), approved a $15 million increase for the NEA in its FY 2010 spending bill, setting it on a path towards final House consideration. Currently funded at $155 million, this increase would bring the agency's budget to $170 million." The FY 2010 Interior Appropriations bill will next go to full committee and then to the House floor for final consideration, notes Americans for the Arts.

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