Principled or Pragmatic? Lawmaker votes for coronavirus bill after slamming its arts funding

Spanberger said she supports the coronavirus stimulus bill after denouncing the $25 million of Kennedy Center funding that's in the legislation

Last Updated:
March 28, 2020 - 10:59am

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Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger slammed the Senate's coronavirus bill inclusion of $25 million for the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts but backed its passage Friday in the House.

Spanberger suggested, after the Senate passed its record-breaking $2.2 trillion package late Wednesday, that she wanted to be part of the bipartisanship exhibited in the upper chamber.

"I think it's important we as members have the opportunity to express our support of this bill, this overwhelmingly bipartisan bill as we saw in the Senate," she said Thursday in a webinar organized by The Atlantic. 

Spanberger earlier railed against the Kennedy Center funding in an op-ed she wrote for Fox News, calling the spending a "far-flung" idea and "not relevant" in helping families hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Virginia lawmaker also said Thursday that she wouldn't support any coronavirus spending bill that has "extraneous" items, unrelated to coronavirus.

However, the bill that passed Friday in the House – and first passed the Senate – includes $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and $150 million for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.

After the bill passed by voice vote in the House on Friday, Spanberger, a moderate Democrat and member of the Problem Solvers Caucus and Blue Dog Coalition, wrote, "This is the third package of #CoronavirusPandemic response legislation we've passed this month, and it won't be the last step. See the thread below for details on what this bill delivers for #VA07."

Her office did not return a request for comment before publication. 

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) voted "no" during the voice vote and tried to force a recorded vote. His request was denied because not enough members stood up in support.