Actress Julie Andrews on Thursday slammed President Trump’s first federal budget blueprint for targeting the arts for drastic cuts.
“Decades worth of research attests to the fact that the arts are among the most profoundly important and valuable ways to improve learning and promote success, from early childhood through adulthood,” she wrote in a CNN op-ed with her daughter, fellow actress Emma Walton Hamilton.
“And yet, the arts are the first to go when the budget ax falls,” Andrews added. "Now, with the shifting priorities of our new presidential administration, artists and art organizations are at serious risk of losing the support they need to their invaluable work.
Andrews added that the arts provide benefits beyond cultural enrichment, entertainment and creative expression.
“They’re also good for business: They spur urban renewal, promote tourism and generate hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity annually,” the celebrated actress said.
“We therefore respectfully request that every member of our society – individuals, educators, administrators, business leaders – do everything possible to preserve and advance this most precious and essential resource, and demand that our elected representatives do the same.”
Trump earlier Thursday released a federal budget blueprint calling for a dramatic reduction of the government.
The president’s outline reportedly calls for eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in their entirety.
The NEA secured $148 million from the federal government in 2016, roughly the same amount requested by the NEH.
Presidential budget requests are only a guidance for Congress, and lawmakers frequently use their control over the power of the purse to pass their own versions instead.
Trump’s budget blueprint is expected to undergo major changes due to bipartisan concerns over its scope and drastic cuts to many agencies and programs.