Senate Coronavirus Bill Includes Pelosi-Pushed $25 Million for Kennedy Arts Center

The Senate version of the bill to help a nation coping with unprecedented turmoil due to the coronavirus includes $25 million to renovate the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., as part of a massive infusion of taxpayer cash into arts funding.

The House bill crafted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi initially sought $35 million for the center.

The funding would provide “deep cleaning, increased teleworking capabilities, and operating and administrative expenses to ensure the Center will resume normal operations immediately upon reopening, according to a summary of the bill.

The money for the Kennedy Center compares favorably with that allocated to the Armed Forces Retirement Homes in Washington, D.C., and Gulfport, Mississippi, which will receive $2.8 million for “increased healthcare, security, and food services personnel expenses, as well as necessary supplies and equipment.”

Many on social media thought the Kennedy Center funding was wrong.

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The Kennedy Center was not the only arts item to be funded in a bill aimed at relief for taxpayers and businesses.

The National Endowment for the Arts will pocket $75 million for “grants, including funding to state arts agencies and other partners in an effort to help local, state, and regional communities provide continued access to cultural organizations and institutions of learning.”

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Do you think funding for these endowments should be included in the relief package?

Another $75 million for will go to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Those numbers are down from the original House bill that sought $300 million each for the two endowments, Fox News reported.

For some, the total was still too high.

The $150 million the two groups will split tops the $100 million set aside for medical emergency management for veterans. The funding supports “the Veterans Health Administration’s 24-hour emergency management coordination, including overtime, travel, transportation of materials, and training.”

Other winners in the Senate bill include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which would receive $75 million for “stabilization grants to maintain programming services and to preserve small and rural public telecommunication stations.”

That far outstrips the funding for the Distance Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband Program, which will get $25 million “for the DLT grant program, which supports rural communities’ access to telecommunications-enabled information, audio, and video equipment, as well as related advanced technologies for students, teachers, and medical professionals.”

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