Washington D.C. – Whitfield of Hopkinsville signed the letter along with 49 other Republican congressman that objected to funding staff salaries of three San Francisco arts groups they accuse of producing obscene art.
Whitfield says his signature on the letter doesn't mean he disapproves of the NEA's work.
"Most of the funding that has come to my district has been quite productive and it's been a program that's been well received in the schools and the local performing arts groups."
Art critic Michel Brenson wrote a book about the culture wars of the 1990s that caused a significant funding reduction for the NEA. He says it's not clear this letter signals a rerun to those debates.