As part of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed last week, Democrats managed to sneak in $25 million in relief payments to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. This relief largely flew under the radar along with the rest of the liberal pork that the Democrats stuffed into the bill…that is, until the Kennedy Center made the abominably bad PR move of sending all of their performers home without pay. It was then that millions of taxpayers stood up, wiped the sleep cracklings out of their eyes, and said, “Wait…what?”
Now one Republican – Wisconsin Rep. Ryan Steil – is pushing forward legislation that would strip the $25 million back from the Kennedy Center, insisting that the performing arts organization should have never gotten the money in the first place.
“Families and workers are struggling to pay rent, pay their mortgage, and buy groceries,” Steil said in a statement. “Americans need relief and assistance now which is why I supported the CARES Act. However, some in Washington felt it was important to spend $25 million of taxpayer dollars on the Kennedy Center when there are obviously bigger needs right now. This is frivolous spending in the midst of a national emergency.”
The Kennedy Center’s share of the stimulus was opposed by many Republicans in Congress, but to see the Center lay off the 100 members of the National Symphony Orchestra within hours of the bill’s passing? That was a bridge too far.
In an interview with The Daily Caller, Rep. Steil said Democrats are wholly to blame for this shameful situation.
“So we were negotiating this bill,” he said. “Nancy Pelosi holds up getting relief to Americans to try to get this and other things in the bill. And so the day that the House passed this bill, I drove from Janesville, Wisconsin, to Washington, D.C., to be there. I spoke on the bill, spoke about how I thought the funding for the Kennedy Center was inappropriate.
“And then before I left Washington, D.C., to drive back home, the day we passed the bill, I dropped this bill into the hopper and introduced it to start day one,” he continued. “The moment after we passed a bill to begin the work of improving it and getting out of the bill the inappropriate funding. A handful of days later, after this passes and you find out that the Kennedy Center is laying people off. That’s almost the icing on the cake.”
This isn’t the time to be throwing taxpayer money at frivolities and politically-divisive causes. This is a time to have all hands on deck, making sure that this stimulus money is going to the people that make this economy work. It’s too bad that some of the top Democrats in Washington don’t understand that.