In an effort to stave off a catastrophic economic crash and aid families, businesses and schools during the nationwide shutdown, Congress reached an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus package.
Some conservatives, however, took umbrage that the deal included $13 million earmarked for Howard University, one of the country’s premier HBCUs. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, seemed flummoxed as to why the Washington, D.C.-based collegiate institution is getting so much money.
$13,000,000 in taxpayer funds could be going to families across the nation struggling to put food on the table in the midst of COVID-19.
Instead, it's going to Howard University.
Education is important- but a $13 million check to Howard does not belong in COVID-19 relief. pic.twitter.com/uIT6yaTMUo
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 25, 2020
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, a Howard University alumnae, clapped back at Gaetz and forcefully asked what was the real motivation behind his objections to the school receiving the large sum. Gaetz’s complaints are particularly questionable when you consider that Congress is giving $30 billion to universities across the country, and yet he chose to single out Howard.
Furthermore, Howard University’s medical center is one of the places in the nation’s capital that is on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus.
The bill provides $30 billion to protect students and help schools, colleges and universities combat the coronavirus. This is $13 million.
$13 million = .04% of $30 billion
Why do you take issue with money going to Howard, Congressman? https://t.co/7nyaijShhd
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) March 26, 2020
The prestigious HBCU also defended itself against the Florida senator and others of his ilk who take issue with Howard receiving such an earmark.
HU Facts: Howard University operates a world-class medical simulation center, 6,000 square foot state-of-the art simulated learning environment, offering resources to advance a comprehensive healthcare education program. pic.twitter.com/sCzTaSotw5
— Howard University (@HowardU) March 26, 2020
Moreover, other dignitaries informed Gaetz about Howard’s renowned medical center and that it has been designated as a COVID-19 treatment center.
Dear Rep. Matt Gaetz,
Howard University's hospital is a COVID-19 treatment facility. Either you know that and are pretending you do not, or you somehow inexplicably do not know that. Despite it being within walking distance from your office.
— Steve Hofstetter (@SteveHofstetter) March 26, 2020
Howard University has a hospital that has been designated one of DC's covid-19 treatment facilities. It is located 2.1 miles from Rep. Gaetz's workplace. pic.twitter.com/6i1ZpaFJ7H
— Gillian Brockell is social distancing (@gbrockell) March 26, 2020