Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the amendments offered by Representative Garrett to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the amendments by Representatives Walberg and Canseco to decrease such funding.
As a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus, I believe that the arts play a crucial role in our society, enhancing our creativity, promoting critical aspects of education, and providing Americans with the opportunity to view works of beauty and personal expression. Furthermore, the arts inspire our children to explore their own creativity and encourage positive development in the course of their educational careers. The arts are a fundamental component of our society and warrant federal funding.
As noted by Americans for the Arts in its report Arts and Economic Prosperity III, across the county ``nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year.'' The report also details that the arts support 5.7 million jobs and generate $29.6 billion in government revenue. In my district in New Jersey alone, as of January 2010, there were 1,841 arts-related businesses employing almost 10,000 people. So not only are the arts good for our cultural development as a society, they are good for our economic development as well.
I have heard from hundreds of my constituents on this matter, and nearly every one has pleaded with me to preserve as much funding as possible for the arts. As one of them said, poignantly, ``a nation without culture is a nation without a soul.''
I strongly oppose any cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and I urge my colleagues to oppose the amendments offered by Representatives Garrett, Walberg and Canseco on this subject.