The $2 trillion spending package to boost the economy in response to the coronavirus crisis includes a $350 million pot of money for “Migration and Refugee Assistance” — the latest item in the legislative behemoth that is angering critics.
While a number of items that Republicans objected to got trimmed in the final Senate bill, the Migrant and Refugee Assistance item actually increased by $50 million to $350 million. That’s more than the bill put forward by House Democrats earlier this week, which included $300 million in “Migrant and Refugee Assistance” for the State Department.
The bill ultimately passed the Senate 96-0 and is expected to pass the House in a voice vote on Friday. It includes a number of measures to boost businesses and help individuals hurt by the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
But it includes controversial items, such as $25 million in funding for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
The Senate bill also provides $75 million to each the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. That is down from the $300 million for each that was in the House stimulus bill.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla, called it a “poison pill” that put “America LAST.”
“Democrats: This is not the time to advance your legislative agenda,” he tweeted before the bill passed the Senate late Wednesday. “This is the time to put #AmericaFirst.
Millions of Americans need help now. Dangerous poison pills like $350,000,000 for "Migration and Refugee Assistance" put America LAST.
Democrats: This is not the time to advance your legislative agenda.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 25, 2020