From the New York Times:
President Bush will seek a big increase in the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts, the largest single source of support for the arts in the United States, administration officials said on Wednesday.
The proposal is part of a turnaround for the agency, which was once fighting for its life, attacked by some Republicans as a threat to the nation’s moral standards.
Laura Bush plans to announce the request on Thursday, in remarks intended to show the administration’s commitment to the arts, aides said.
Administration officials, including White House budget experts, said that Mr. Bush would propose an increase of $15 million to $20 million for the coming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. That would be the largest rise in two decades and far more than the most recent increases, about $500,000 for 2003 and $5 million for this year.
The agency has a budget of $121 million this year, 31 percent lower than its peak of $176 million in 1992. After Republicans gained control of Congress in 1995, they cut the agency’s budget to slightly less than $100 million, and the budget was essentially flat for five years.
In an e-mail message inviting arts advocates to a news briefing with Mrs. Bush, Dana Gioia, the poet who is chairman of the endowment, says, “You will be present for an important day in N.E.A. history.”…
Read the whole thing here.