U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) has joined other Oversight Committee Republicans in demanding answers after the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts furloughed its employees despite receiving $25 million from Congress.
This, according to a press release Green put out late Tuesday.
In the letter, Oversight Members expressed their concern regarding the Kennedy Center’s decision to furlough over 700 of its administrative, part-time, and hourly workers. These layoffs, whether temporary or not, are completely contrary to the spirit of the CARES Act and are very concerning to Congress, the press release said.
“The purpose of the CARES Act was to protect jobs, not destroy them. If the Kennedy Center wants to turn around and furlough its employees after receiving $25 million from Congress, it can stop the pretense and return the funding,” Green said in the press release.
“That’s the protocol every other business receiving aid from the CARES Act has to follow. The Kennedy Center, despite its lofty connections in Congress, is no exception.”
In the letter, Oversight Members asked the staff at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts the following:
• An explanation for any and all furloughs, layoffs, or reductions in pay
• A delineated explanation of expenses for the Kennedy Center
• An iterative plan to mitigate against additional furloughs, layoffs, or reductions in pay
As The Tennessee Star reported last week, Green said he felt disgusted consenting to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) when she demanded certain pork barrel projects on the coronavirus relief bill.
Green said this during a Tele-Town hall phone call with constituents. He added that he and other congressional Republicans stripped a lot of pork out of the bill. But, to get it passed, Republicans still had to vote for $25 million for the Kennedy Center.
Green said he and other congressional Republicans had to concede additional things to Pelosi that, in the long run, hurt the country.
“We were trying to get money in there to buy fuel petroleum at our current super low prices to put in our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Well, Pelosi would not allow that to be in there. She would not support passage of the bill if they didn’t have the Green New Deal stuff in there. So, in order to get Green New Deal stuff, which we feel would be very harmful to the economy, we had to take off the purchase of it in order to get something passed so our businesses and our families could get the help they need during this crisis,” Green said.
“It was a very frustrating thing. They often call this type of legislating ‘sausage making,’ and it’s this debate. They sort of held us hostage on some things, and we wound up sending $25 million to the Kennedy Center in order to get checks to people. I hated it. It made me sick to my stomach, but I didn’t think we could wait another day or two. But we were able to get a ton of stuff she [Pelosi] wanted in that 1,400 page bill out of there.”
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