Scalise, Gingrich Lead Charge to Revoke $25 Million Given to Kennedy Center From Stimulus Bill After Layoffs

We reported how $25 million was included for the Kennedy Center in the final Coronavirus Stimulus Bill. Hours after the bill was signed, it was announced that they were laying off the National Symphony Orchestra.

Outrage spread and Newt Gingrich tweeted out yesterday morning saying that it would be better to “lay off the administrators and keep the artists”. He called for “someone” to “investigate”.

How can the Kennedy Center get $25 million from the taxpayers in the recent emergency bill and then tell the musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra it was laying them off. It would be better to lay off the administrators and keep the artists. Someone should investigate.

House rep Steve Scalise (R) took to Fox News last night on an interview with Sean Hannity and in a follow up tweet, he called for Congress to “take that money back and give it to hospitals and hardworking families in need.”

In the middle of a national emergency, Nancy Pelosi fought to give the Kennedy Center $25 MILLION…and then they stopped paying their musicians anyway. RT if you agree → Congress should take that money back and give it to hospitals and hardworking families in need.

Congressman Bryan Steil (R) introduced a bill today to rescind the $25 million in funding. Steil’s bill has 15 cosponsors, including Republican Whip Steve Scalise.

In a phone call with the Daily Caller, Steil said “So we were negotiating this bill. 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. The moment after we passed a bill to begin the work of improving it and getting out of the bill, 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,” Steil continued.

Speaking to a local news outlet, Steil said, “Families and workers are struggling to pay rent, pay their mortgage, and buy groceries. 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.”

Scalise also commented on the bill, “Coronavirus requires a serious and targeted response. Some of my colleagues refused to allow a clean bill to move forward. The Kennedy Center spending should have never made it into the final CARES Act. We must correct this mistake. I want to thank Rep. Bryan Steil for his leadership in filing a bill to return the Kennedy Center’s abused earmark, and send a clear message — if an organization is receiving assistance from the federal government, we expect them to take care of their workers.”

Scalise then called out Pelosi saying, “As we take further Congressional action to fight the Coronavirus’ devastating impact on families and our economy, I call on Speaker Pelosi to finally put the American people, not special interests, first.”

Senator Rick Scott (R) also sent a letter to Russ Vought, the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget “urging the Administration to rescind the $25 million for the Kennedy Center and other wasteful spending.”

We need to be using taxpayer $$ to help American families and small businesses during this crisis. Today I wrote to OMB Acting Director Russ Vought urging the Administration to rescind the $25 million for the Kennedy Center and other wasteful spending.

The Hill released an article earlier that said the Kennedy Center announced plans to furlough 60 percent of its full-time administrative staff starting April 6 and “at least” through May 10 and detailed a plan for the $25 million.

It said nearly $20 million would be used for employee salaries and benefits, and that the rest would be used for utilities and deep cleaning costs. In addition to the stimulus funding, the center used a $10 million line of credit.

“This economic relief will save jobs and ensure jobs for our furloughed staff to come back to once the pandemic subsides and we are able to reopen for business,” the announcement read.