House Republicans Push Bill To Take Back the $25 Million Kennedy Center Received in Coronavirus Bill


House Republicans are planning to introduce a bill to take back the $25 million that the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts received in the COVID-19 response bill, citing the fact that the center furloughed orchestra members hours after the bill was signed into law.

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Bryan Steil said he planned to introduce the bill that would take back the money given to the center, according to the Washington Examiner.

“This money should be spent fighting the virus or in taxpayers’ pockets!” Steil tweeted.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise voiced his support for the idea Monday night on Fox News.

“Nancy Pelosi literally held the bill up for days to get her pet projects including the money for the Kennedy Center. Interesting she’d use the choice of words ‘fiddlers’ because it was the fiddlers, the violin players, all the musicians at the Kennedy Center that got laid off right as the bill got signed,” Scalise told Tucker Carlson.

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“They ought to give that money back,” Scalise said.

“But it shows you how misguided Pelosi’s priorities were,” Scalise added.

Do you think the center should give the money back?

The Democrats included $25 million in taxpayer funding for the Kennedy Center in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which they were originally criticized for before winning the support of President Donald Trump himself.

“That was a Democrat request. That was not my request,” Trump said.

“But you got to give them something.”

Hours after Trump signed the $2 trillion CARES Act into law Friday, an email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon said 96 members of the National Symphony Orchestra will no longer receive paychecks after April 3.

“The Covid-19 Advisory Committee was broadsided today during our conversation with [Kennedy Center President] Deborah Rutter,” the email read.

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“Ms. Rutter abruptly informed us today that the last paycheck for all musicians and librarians will be April 3 and that we will not be paid again until the Center reopens.”

The email added that orchestra members should continue as if their April 3 paycheck will be their last.

“We understand this will come [as a] shock to all of you, as it did us,” the email read.

On March 12, the Kennedy Center announced it would cancel all public performances and events and shut its doors to the public through March 31.

The cancelations were later extended through May 10.

In a statement to the Washington Examiner, the president of the Local 161-710 of the American Federation of Musicians criticized the center for its decision.

“This decision, from an organization with an endowment of nearly $100 million, is not only outrageous — coming after the musicians had expressed their willingness to discuss ways to accommodate the Kennedy Center during this challenging time — it is also blatantly illegal under the parties’ collective bargaining agreement,” Ed Malaga said.

“That agreement specifically requires that the Center provide six weeks’ notice before it can stop paying musicians for economic reasons.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith