It was just a day ago that conservatives were having a fit that the House Democrats’ economic stimulus package included $35 million set aside for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. (Which is a bargain: Rep. Jerry Nadler wanted $4 billion for New York City’s nonprofit museums.)

There must have been some negotiation, though, because on Wednesday someone had managed to talk Nancy Pelosi and company down to $25 million for the Kennedy Center. Obviously aware of the backlash in the press, the Kennedy Center released a statement Wednesday trying to explain why it deserved $25 million to weather the COVID-19 crisis:

It reads, in part:

As we fulfill our congressional mandate, we rely on ticket revenues and contributions to offset nearly every aspect of our business, including presenting live (often free) performances and offering education programs for millions across the country. Additionally, the Center is a job creator, providing employment for nearly 3,000 people and compensation for more than 1,000 guest artists. Our workforce includes artists, programmers, administrative and production staff, ushers, bartenders, food service employees, parking attendants, and many more, all of whom have been impacted or will soon be impacted by the closure of the Kennedy Center. The ability to deliver on our mandated mission is at risk. As a result, federal relief funding is the only way we will be in a position to reopen the nation’s cultural center when our government officials tell us it is safe to do so.

Honest question: Wouldn’t those bartenders, ushers, and parking attendants be covered by the stimulus package already without an extra $25 million set aside?

Anyway, the Kennedy Center still isn’t winning a lot of new fans:

It doesn’t look like that statement is convincing many people that the Kennedy Center deserved special treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.

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