Update on McSally Amendment to Cut Military Band Funding

Last week, US Senate Democrats filibustered the House version of the Defense Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017.  Some have asked what this means for the Congresswoman Martha McSally’s amendment, which would cut funding for military bands.  The Democratic filibuster essentially ended the Senate’s process of reviewing appropriations bill individually, and signals the likelihood of a short-term continuing resolution that will  fund the government until after the general election.  While highly dependent upon the winner of the presidential election and the make-up of the new incoming Congress, lawmakers in both chambers will try to pass an omnibus appropriations bill.  The fate of the McSally amendment would lie within this enormous piece of legislation. 

NAfME Responds and What’s Next for the Amendment

NAfME has closely monitored this situation, and has strongly voiced opposition to both the amendment as well as Congresswoman McSally’s comments—first with a letter concerning her original comments on the matter, and most recently by CEO and Executive Director Mike Blakeslee regarding the actual amendment:

“With dedication and integrity, U.S. military bands continue to serve our nation today by connecting American citizens of all generations with our nation’s Soldiers, Airman, Marines, and Sailors through our country’s musical heritage. These servicemen and women set one of the highest examples of musical achievement, pride in nation, and further the aspirations of all citizens, including young American music students across the nation.

Pictured: U.S. Army – The Jazz Ambassadors

Photo courtesy of Loran McClung, loran.mcclung@gmail.com

Members of military ensembles have given countless hours of service sharing their expertise to thousands of music teachers and students through professional development programs and special student outreach programs. These musicians set an example of the highest musical achievement and instill valuable skills like leadership, loyalty and selfless service in all of us.

Of great importance to NAfME members, the military ensembles serve to support music education by any number of demonstrations, clinics, other educational interactions with students, and jobs.

Pictured: 2016 U.S. All-American Marching Band Rehearsal

Photo courtesy of Loran McClung, loran.mcclung@gmail.com

We also remind Congresswoman McSally that the highly praised US Military Intelligence Corps Band from Fort Huachuca, Arizona resides in her district.  In addition to entertaining many through their music, the band is an active member of the community, working with schools to mentor our next generation of musicians.  They, like all military bands across our country, aid in the military’s mission of higher recruitment.    

NAfME strongly supports our nation’s military ensembles, understanding both their importance to our military as well as music education.  A vote for the McSally Amendment is a vote against music education.  NAfME will monitor the omnibus appropriations bill and alert members if the McSally amendment is included.


Tooshar Swain, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, July 20, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)