A bipartisan group of 64 members of Congress is demanding a reversal on $3 million in funding cuts to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum proposed in President Trump’s budget.
“In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world rises,” the letter to the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee said. “Now is not the time to cut funding for this national treasure.”
The letter, spearheaded by Reps. Stephanie Murphy, (D-Fla.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), John Katko, (R-N.Y.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), highlights the challenges Trump faces in cutting funds to popular programs. Trump’s budget proposal shifted $54 billion in non-defense discretionary funding to defense and proposed deep cuts to social safety net and health programs.
The reduction, which would return the Museum’s budget to its 2016 level of $54 million, roughly a 5 percent decrease.
“Attempts to cut funding for the museum are misguided, and this letter demonstrates a strong, bipartisan commitment to protecting the museum and the educational value it provides to all Americans,” said Sinema.
According to the budget proposal, the cut “will assist in meeting the President’s budget objectives, while still providing adequate funds to cover pay increases and rising costs for current services for the Museum’s facilities and collections. The decrease is achieved by reductions in staff and selected non-pay areas.”
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the CEO of anti-Semitism watchdog group ADL, said cutting the museum’s funding would me a “mistake.”
“The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is the most important American institution preserving the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and educating future generations about the importance of combating hate and bigotry,” he said, echoing the letter’s call for Congress to fully fund the museum
The cut may play into the hands of Trump’s critics on the left, who have noted with dismay his failure to quickly distance himself from white supremacist leaders during the campaign, his White House’s failure to mention Jews in its Holocaust Memorial Day statement and statements by his Press Secretary Sean Spicer that seemed to overlook the use of gas chambers to kill Jews.