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House Democrats are being criticized on Monday for allotting expenses in their proposal of an emergency stimulus bill that has nothing to do with the coronavirus outbreak, including $35 million meant for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
Following the Senate Democrats derailing the pursuit of a bipartisan-drafted stimulus bill, the House led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offered their own version of a bill meant to save the economy as the pandemic has pummelled the stock market. However, buried inside the over 1,100-page emergency proposal is money meant to upkeep a popular destination at the country's capital.
"For an additional amount for 'Operations and Maintenance,' $35,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2021, for operations and maintenance requirements related to the consequenees of coronavirus: Provided, That notwithstanding the provisions of 20 U.S.C. 76th et seq., funds provided in this Act shall be made available to cover operating expenses required to ensure the continuity of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and its affiliates, including for employee compensation and benefits, grants, contracts, payments for rent or utilities, fees for artists or performers, information technology and other administrative expenses," the bill reads.
The next page of the bill indicates that $300 million would be allotted for the National Endowment of the Arts and an additional $300 million for the National Endowment of the Humanities. The bill also provides $100 million for NASA and $278 million for the IRS.
Such expenses, particularly the $35 million for the performing arts center, raised eyebrows on social media.
"$35 Mil for the Kennedy Center is essential for battling the Coronavirus, says Nancy Pelosi," the Federalist publisher Ben Domenech reacted.
Several GOP lawmakers pointed to Pelosi's alleged involvement amid talks of a Senate emergency bill as responsible for the bill's derailment by Senate Democrats.