President Donald Trump is believed to be planning on shutting down arts and heritage programs as part of a raft of budget-tightening measures.
The Hill, whose source is an unnamed member of Trump’s transition team, reported that Trump will eliminate both the National Endowment For The Arts and the National Endowment For The Humanities, and privatise the Corporation For Public Broadcasting.
The latter partially funds National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), currently receiving $445.5 million a year from the government, around half of which goes to the US’ approx. 350 public television stations.
Shutting down the NEA is an idea that dates back to the Reagan administration, though Reagan was ultimately dissuaded from the move by other conservatives.
In response to the news, a heartfelt speech by Fred Rogers before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications from 1969 (above), in which he defends PBS, is being reshared
The Arts and Humanities are a vital part of our cultural identity and enhance the quality of our lives.” the petition reads. “They connect us to the past, they speak to us in the present, and they are our legacy, our gift to the future.
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“Investing in them is never a waste, and I strongly urge that both the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities continue to receive federal funding.”
Trump's first few days in office have been eventful to say the least, seeing him formally scrap a flagship trade dea, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with 11 countries in the Pacific Rim and sign an executive order to reinstate a ban on providing federal money to international non-government organisations that perform abortions or provide information about them. The policy also prohibits taxpayer funding for groups that lobby to legalise abortion or promote it as a family planning method.
He has also signed an order placing a hiring freeze on non-military federal workers, and was criticised heavily by Native Americans and climate change activists on Tuesday after he put in motion executive orders to allow construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines.