President Donald Trump praised funding for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that was put in the stimulus bill. It flies in the face of the Republican Party’s attacks on the funding measure, and accusations that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was pushing her own pet projects into being funded.
The Kennedy Center does get federal funding as the largest public theater in Washington, D.C. and the budgets and laws for the District of Columbia must be approved by Congress. The construction of the Kennedy Center was also funded by Congress in 1958. Congress continues to fund the maintenance expenses of the building whole other grants and donations fund projects, though the center is considered a federal entity.
People on Twitter don't seem to know that the Kennedy Center is a federal entity under congressional supervision. Its employees are federal workers. With no money coming in from performances, they can't get paid without an appropriation. https://t.co/EseYqkWVqX
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) March 25, 2020
Politico’s Jake Sherman noted that both Democrats and Republicans put funding for it in their respective bills.
A lot of people are very interested in this Kennedy Center piece.
Republicans AND Democrats both had money for the Kennedy Center in their bills. https://t.co/0dUXVsHw3m
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 25, 2020
“Why are we doing this? I’m all for the arts but this is not the time or the place,” said Fox News’ Dana Perino. “If Nancy Pelosi thinks that this wasn’t something she wanted in there, then she has to police her troops a little bit better because they look really bad.”
So did conservative Greta Van Susteren.
I wanted a coronavirus bill passed even if it was far from perfect ..but I also want to know, whose idea was it to earmark 35 million dollars to the Kennedy Center (a performing arts center in DC?) or is that not really in the bill? Once it passes, lets have names..#transparency
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) March 24, 2020
“Democrats’ behavior is a national disgrace. They are blocking aid for sick people and unemployed workers over Pelosi’s totally unrelated demands,” tweeted House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday.
As did Rep. Mark Green.
❌$1 billion “cash for clunkers” airplane program
❌$20 billion to bail out USPS
❌$200 million on fuel research
❌$35 million for the Kennedy Center@SpeakerPelosi's legislative blackmail routine is just another page from the partisan playbook that brought us impeachment.
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) March 24, 2020
But when asked about it on Wednesday, Trump explained he’s in full support.
“The Kennedy Center has suffered greatly because nobody can go there,” President Trump says when asked about the funding for Kennedy Center. “You gotta give them something … the Democrats have treated us fairly.”
Republican staffers will likely rush to Twitter and Facebook to delete their attacks soon.
The RNC just hours ago blasted this as one of the things "Pelosi has stuffed into her legislation that have nothing to do with coronavirus relief" https://t.co/B2Zu078KIi
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) March 25, 2020