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The National Endowment for the Arts may be down, but don't count it out. Reagan has proposed cutting funds in half for the agency, which gives financial assistance to everything from experimental theater to museums. The NEA has many friends on Capitol Hill, but it's unlikely they will be able to buck the budget-cutting tide in key committees.

Enter a new White House task force whose job will be to recommend what to do with the NEA and its sister agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities. It's findings are due by September.

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One possibility is for them to become quasi-governmental organizations, like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

NEA supporters are privately and aggressively maneu vering to influence the composition of the task force.m

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