Reagan's across-the-board 12 percent cut in his original federal budget proposal means a recommendation to pull the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities down to $77.4 million and $74.8 million respectively. This round of proposals could possibly rekindle the protests in the arts community heard when the first cuts were announced.
It will all depend on what Congress does with the proposal. "I couldn't speculate," said Livingston Biddle, NEA chairman. "I'm worried about anything that reduces the catalytic strength of the Endowment. This won't be helpful." He added, "But it soon is not going to be my term as chairman to worry about."
Frank Hodsoll, deputy to White House chief of staff James Baker, is considered to be the choice of the White House to replace Biddle.
"If my rumor happens," Hodsoll said, meaning his appointment, "I'll support the president. When we were doing the budget cuts, we had to do an across-the-board cut with no special consideration of arts and humanities."
The Senate yesterday voted a continuing resolution that allows $119.3 million for Arts and $113.7 million for Humanities. That continuing resolution -- a stopgap measure Congress takes in case it doesn't get to the appropriations before the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1 -- is good until Nov. 20 or a congressional appropriation, whichever comes first. A Senate-House conference will have to be held on the continuing resolution.