Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn advanced a Colorado tradition this week when he offered an amendment to the FY2008 Interior appropriations bill that would have eliminated funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, for which the House appropriated $160 million.
The measure, which failed by a vote of 97-335, was the latest in a long line of amendments pushed by Colorado Republicans in the House to reduce or eliminate NEA's federal funding.
Since 2000, there have been 16 roll-call votes on changing the NEA's appropriations, with all but four being reductions. Seven of those amendments were offered by Coloradans, including one in 2005 by Lamborn's predecessor, former Rep. Joel Hefley. The other Colorado sponsors of NEA cuts have been Tom Tancredo and former Rep. Bob Beauprez.
Three times during the past seven years Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y. (and now Rules Committee chairman) has successfully offered amendments to increase the NEA's budget, usually at the expense of other programs in the Interior Department.
Lamborn wasn't the only lawmaker to try to reduce the NEA's funding this year: Republican Reps. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida and Rob Bishop of Utah offered amendments. Both were defeated by similar margins.