The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has walked back its decision to furlough nearly 100 members of the symphony orchestra despite receiving a $25 million federal bailout, a move that prompted the affected musicians to file a lawsuit against the performing arts center.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, the center has offered the musicians pay cuts and a wage freeze instead of furloughs, and the union representing the orchestra’s musicians has, in turn, decided to drop a lawsuit against the center for allegedly violating a contract, which prohibits layoffs without six weeks notice.
As a result of the agreement, the Kennedy Center told the news agency that the organization will save $4 million and approximately $2.5 million in payroll through September 2020.
The decision to avoid musician furloughs comes a week after lawmakers moved to revoke the center’s $25 million bailout, calling the provision in the massive stimulus package “frivolous spending,” as The Daily Wire previously reported.
“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. Coronavirus requires a serious and targeted response,” said Congressman Brian Steil (R-WI), who authored the legislation to revoke the bailout.
“If an organization is receiving assistance from the federal government, we expect them to take care of their workers,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), one of the bill’s 13 co-sponsors. “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.”
“While everybody else was working together, Republican and Democrat, with President Trump, who was solely focused on fighting for jobs for American families,” argued Scalise in an interview with Fox News. “Nancy Pelosi literally held the bill up for days to get her pet projects, including the money for the Kennedy Center.”
President Trump has supported the bailout, arguing that he “didn’t have a big problem with it” because the center has “tremendous deficits that are built up,” reports The Washington Post.
“I haven’t spent time there because I’m far too busy. I’d love to go there evenings, but I’m too busy doing things,” said Trump, according to The Hill. “The Kennedy Center, they do a beautiful job, an incredible job.”
In addition to the buzz over the stimulus bailout, an online rumor has been circulating that the Kennedy Center donated $5 million to the DNC. As The Daily Caller reports, the source of the original claim appears to be a viral tweet where the poster then clarified that the statement was intended as a “next-step hypothetical.”
The Kennedy Center Timeline:
Completes a $250 M renovation
2019: Receives $41 M from taxpayers
Yesterday: Gets $25 M from Relief Bill
Today: Tells musicians it will stop paying them
Donates $5 M to the DNC
The Kennedy Center launders taxpayer money for the Democrats.
— Cari Kelemen (@KelemenCari) March 28, 2020
To clarify, my original tweet should have said:
*Tomorrow* donates $5 M to the DNC.
It was meant as a next-step hypothetical based on the way the DNC has used Planned Parenthood to launder taxpayer money in the past. I did not intend to confuse anyone. Apologies if I did.
— Cari Kelemen (@KelemenCari) March 29, 2020
A spokesperson for the center told The Daily Caller that the center has made no donations to the DNC. The news agency reports that, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Kennedy Center is prohibited from making political donations.