It’s time for an update on current efforts to help block proposed a funding amendment in the 2017 Defense Appropriations bill designed to gut military music programs. If you’ve been keeping up with what has been going on, you already know that the next step in the process was to get the amendment removed prior to the Senate vote (if this is new to you, start here to get up to speed).
The goal was to get the amendment removed, or at least the wording edited, which would force it back into a conference committee where Senators and Representatives meet to resolve disagreements. This would then be the final stage in the process where the amendment could be finally removed before the appropriations bill is sent to the president for approval.
Thanks to a wonderfully detailed report published on 7/20/2016 and written by Tooshar Swain, Legislative Policy Advisor at the National Association for Music Education, we now know everything is up for grabs thanks to a good bit of political jockeying related to the national election coming up in November, 2016.
The Senate failed to approve a version of the Defense Appropriations bill prior to congress going on recess. As a result, we’ll likely see a number of 11th hour efforts to pass very short-term resolutions that will dictate funding on a temporary basis until congress reconvenes and the process begins anew. During this interim, it is important to continue efforts related to putting an end to this amendment and send a strong signal to its sponsor, Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), and co-sponsors Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).
What You Can Do To Help Stop This Amendment
You need to contact both of your Senators and ask about ongoing efforts for any short term funding.
- When: ASAP!
- What to ask: Strike Section 10010 from S 3000, or modify the language so it does not include any funding cuts. Conversely, assure that any proposed cuts or restrictions on performance activity to military music not appear in the stop-gap funding appropriations.
- Contacting Senators: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact
If congress returns to the prescribed process, you need to contact your representatives to make sure the discrepancy between the two original versions of the bill will end up in a conference committee, where Senators and Representatives meet to resolve disagreements on a particular bill. This is the stage where you need to keep up pressure on your Senators and your Representative to leave out Section 10010 and to continue to allow the DOD to fund military musical unit performances.
- Contacting Your Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/