Home Interior Design A Republican-drafted bill cut funding for the Smithsonian’s Planned Latino Museum in 2024

A Republican-drafted bill cut funding for the Smithsonian’s Planned Latino Museum in 2024

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The future of the rest to be built National Latin American Museum is in jeopardy after the House Appropriations Committee passed a new Invoice which expressly prohibits the Smithsonian Institution from using federal funding for the coming year to plan or build the new museum.

Drafted by the committee’s Republican majority, the bill was approved by a 33-to-27 vote last week. The news was first reported by the hill.

Several Democrats have openly expressed the need for Congress to continue funding the brand new Latino Museum.

“The Latino community is such an integral part of American heritage,” said Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl). “It baffles me why the majority would prevent the Smithsonian from highlighting their historical and cultural contributions, especially since Congress created this museum.

Congress agreed to fund the creation of a new Smithsonian museum dedicated to Latino history— with the Women’s History Museum — as part of a bipartisan omnibus 2020 spending billand is consider sites on DC’s National Mall for both museums.

So, it should have been a big step forward for the Latino museum when the Molina, its first physical space and the Smithsonian’s only gallery dedicated to Latino history and culture, opened in 2022. Instead, it appears to have created new roadblocks.

The inaugural exhibition of the 4,500 square foot gallery, “¡Present! A Latin American History“, “tells the history of the United States from the point of view of the diverse Latinas and Latinos who have lived it and live it today”, according to the Smithsonian. Republicans don’t see it that way.

"¡Present!  A Latin American History" at the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Photo by Astrid Riecken for the <em>washington post</em> via Getty Images.” width=”1024″ height=”680″ srcset=”https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/07/GettyImages-1241296934-1024×680.jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/07/GettyImages-1241296934-30 0x199.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/07/GettyImages-1241296934-1536×1020.jpg 1536w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/07/GettyImages-1241296934-2048×1361. jpg 2048w https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/07/GettyImages-1241296934-50×33.jpg 50w max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/></p>
<p id=” Here ! A Latino History of the United States” at the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC Photo by Astrid Riecken for the Washington Post via Getty Images.

The rationale for the committee’s decision to block funding was highlighted during the review of the bill markup session. Committee chair Kay Granger said in a statement that he had rejected an amendment that would have “facilitated the Smithsonian’s continued portrayal of Latino Americans in a negative light”. His statement came after Republican Hispanic members expressed concern over exhibits that portray Hispanic Americans “as victims” and “promote socialism,” per Rep. mike simpson(R-Id), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee.

“The museum almost myopically portrays Latinos as an oppressed monolith united largely by their victimhood, overlooking the nuanced and varied experiences, including notable successes, of Latino Americans,” Bill reports. declared.

Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fl) expressed his disapproval of the exhibit, taking offense at its “insulting” inclusion of a convicted deserter as the only example of a Hispanic serving in the armed forces. He spoke at length in Spanish during the markup session and accused the Smithsonian of only paying “lip service” for concerns about its portrayal of Hispanics.

“We’re going to fix it, but the way to do that is to make sure the Smithsonian understands that we won’t accept this condescending, quasi-racist attitude towards Latinos in the United States of America,” he concluded.

The Republican desire to control the narrative at the Latino Museum mirrors other overarching trends in the bill, which outlines its “conservative priorities” in a summary. These include prohibitions against “using funds to promote or advance critical race theory,” new rules that “ensure only appropriate flags are flown on agency facilities,” and halting implementation of the Biden administration’s executive orders on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

"¡Present!  A Latin American History" at the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC Photo courtesy of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

” Here ! A Latino History of the United States” in the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, Washington, DC

The museum’s funding cuts are part of the bill’s broader efforts to cut the budget by 35%, along with major cuts to arts and culture.

Notably, the bill would cut the Smithsonian’s annual budget by $184.79 million, or 16%, from 2023 levels at $959.7 million. It’s also $281.3 billion less than President Joe Biden’s 2024 budget request. (This provides $16.9 million for the Smithsonian’s other upcoming branch, the American Women’s History Museum.)

DCs also hurt National Art Gallerywhere the budget could be reduced by 15% to $178 million, while the National Foundation for the Humanities and the National Foundation for the Arts both get 10% budget cuts to $186.3 million each. THE American Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC is a rare winner among cultural institutions in the current bill, which awards it the full $67 million requested by the president.

“The cuts at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art are so deep that they will be forced to reduce the number of hours or days each week that the museums are open to the public,” Maine First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said during the committee’s markup session, noting that the reduction is equivalent to 200 full-time jobs at the Smithsonian and 180 at the NGA. “Staff reductions of this magnitude would make it impossible to safely operate the museum and protect the collections and buildings.”

Then the bill will be voted on by the entire House of Representatives, which is also under Republican control. But with a Democratic majority in the Senate, it remains to be seen whether those deep budget cuts will remain intact as the appropriations process continues to move through Congress.

The Smithsonian declined to comment on the budget proposed by the Appropriations Committee.

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