Hollywood stars lobby in DC against arts program cuts
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A dozen Hollywood actors lobbied on Capitol Hill this week against budget cuts for arts programs, with organizers describing GOP lawmakers they met with as "thoughtful and interesting."

Celebrities including Alyssa Milano, "Veep" star Matt Walsh and "Pretty Little Liars" actor Chad Lowe were among those who attended the Creative Coalition's annual "Night Before" dinner Friday after the lobbying.

Actor Tim Daly, who leads the Creative Coalition, joined other attendees in elbow-rubbing at the Flavio restaurant in Georgetown ahead of Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner.

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The Creative Coalition event capped off the group's daylong lobbying effort in Washington, dubbed #righttobeararts, which included meetings with Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as White House officials.

"The White House today was very strange mostly because it was empty," Daly said when asked to compare this year's experience to those in previous years.

"There were no bustling people herding us around and I don't know why that is ... I've never been in the offices of the White House and seen it quieter and less populated," he said.

Lowe, who sported a USO badge on his blazer, told The Hill that his meetings with lawmakers were "thrilling and inspiring," remarking that he "got a little intimidated" seeing the Capitol through one lawmaker's office window.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, you're a son of the American revolution! You have every right to be in here and speak up!"

Walsh, who plays the White House press secretary on "Veep," joined others in calling on the Trump administration to fully fund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

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Asked what his "Veep" character would say if he met President Trump, Walsh responded, "I would say, 'Don't cut funding to the NEA ... I think that the NEA is a patriotic infrastructure."

Walsh noted that he would not be attending Saturday night's WHCA dinner, opting instead to go to a rival event hosted by Comedy Central's Samantha Bee.

Milano also described the Creative Coalition's day of lobbying as a success. She said she had not met Trump in his previous life as a reality show host and New York businessman, but said she had met his elder daughter Ivanka.

"I have met Ivanka, she guest judged on 'Project Runway All Stars' and she could not have been lovelier and smarter ... and so I keep holding out faith that she's puppeteering something fabulous at some point," Milano said.

Asked how much influence Ivanka would have on her father, Milano paused, and responded tongue-in-cheek, "I mean, I have a lot of influence on my father."