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Boosting the arts – Clinton seeks $150 miillion for culture

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – In his final budget message, President Clinton is asking for roughly $300 million for the arts and humanities, including an initiative to promote arts at the local level.

He also wants millions of dollars to repair museums in the nation’s capital.

Both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities have yet to make up losses from five years ago when Republicans in Congress cut their budgets after arguing that the arts agency funded art that was vulgar and anti-religious.

But the Democratic president’s 2001 budget signals his continued support. Clinton asks for $97.6 million to fund the general needs of the NEA — the same amount the agency had this year.

Clinton also seeks $10 million for a joint project between the NEA and the Education Department, $2.5 million for an NEA youth training program and another $54 million for the Challenge America project designed to promote arts in local communities.

And he wants $150 million for the NEH to pay for a wide range of educational, preservation and electronic initiatives.

In addition, Clinton is seeking $463 million for the Smithsonian Institution, which receives 75 percent of its funding from the federal government and charges no entry fees for visitors.

The White House also proposed $20 million for repairs at the Kennedy Center and $14 million for operations; $34.5 million for the Holocaust Memorial Museum and $64 million for the National Gallery of Art.

The budget also would provide The Institute of Museum and Library Services with an extra $9 million for technology and partnership programs to bring the total request to $33.9 million.

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