House cuts NEA, education, park funding in Thursday votes

The House on Thursday continued to add cuts to a measure already slashing $61 billion from this year's spending.

In a series of votes Thursday, House lawmakers cuts funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), school improvement funds and the U.S. Institute for Peace. 

In a 217-209 vote, the House cut $20.6 million in NEA funding. The amendment to the FY 2011 spending bill, from Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), would leave NEA funding at about $125 million, not the $145 million in the original House bill.

House members also voted to cut school improvement and teacher quality grants in order to increase special education funding by $557 million.

The House agreed to an amendment from Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to cut $42.6 million in funding for the U.S. Institute for Peace. In early Thursday morning debate, Weiner said Democrats must be able to find something to cut, and he found Republican support for cutting funds to this institution. A $10.7 million fund for the East West Center was also eliminated on Thursday.

In other areas, members accepted amendments to cut a $15 million fund for the Presidio Park, a $4.5 million fund for national capitol arts and cultural affairs programs.

The House did not accept amendments to eliminate $446 million in Amtrak funding, $233 million to fund the National Labor Relations Board, $211 million in multilateral aid, $100 million worth of community service block grants, and $7.4 million from the U.S. Forest Service.

Also accepted was an amendment from Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) to eliminate language that prevents the Department of Education from funding the Alaskan Native Education Equity Act and the Native Hawaiian Education program. In early Thursday morning debate, Young was charged with pursuing an earmark for his state, which led to a testy debate between Young and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).

Over the last few days, the House has accepted about $578 million in cuts that go beyond those in the original Republican bill and has rejected about $4.6 billion in proposed cuts.