(The Center Square) – The return of congressional appropriations is under scrutiny as they begin to accumulate and spark controversy, including $3 million in taxpayer money for an art collection in Brooklyn, New York.
The fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill passed in March included a “historic” $17.7 million in federal funding for “community projects,” marking a revitalization of congressional reserves that are being doled out by lawmakers and raising eyebrows.
U.S. Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind., Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced a congressional resolution condemning the earmarks, which said, “fiscal year 2022 marked the reversal of the ‘spending of directed by Congress’ and ‘community project funding’, also known as ‘outreach’, after a 12-year hiatus.
The resolution points to the 2022 Omnibus spending bill, which includes a number of reservations. Scott touted several examples, including $1.6 million for “equitable shellfish aquaculture” in Rhode Island, $500,000 to revitalize a ski club in New Hampshire and $500,000 for horse management in Nevada.
The resolution points to other expenditures, including “funding for earmarking reserves, including, $2,500,000 to build a museum annex in Vermont, $605,000 to build a greenhouse in New York City, and $3,000,000 to create a gallery in Brooklyn, in addition to designation projects including bike paths in Vermont. , abandoned lobster pots in Connecticut and a country club driveway sidewalk in Colorado.”
Democratic representatives for New York praised the passage of funding for the Brooklyn Museum at the time.
Representatives Yvette Clarke DN.Y., Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y. and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., posed with a large check for the museum in May of this year. They also hailed the $17.7 million in funding for these types of projects as “historic.”
“I fought hard alongside Representative Yvette Clarke and Chairman Hakeem Jeffries to provide $3,000,000 to the Brooklyn Museum to create a permanent gallery for its African Art,” Schumer said in a statement. “Under my leadership, the Senate passed a funding bill that includes historic levels of investment in community projects like the one here at the Brooklyn Museum. This investment will strengthen one of Brooklyn’s iconic institutions and expand the appeal, relevance and depth of its collection to a wider audience…”
The Brooklyn museum thanked Democratic members on its Tumblr page for the $3 million in funding, saying it will “help bring our famous collection of African art back into view.”
The museum said the funds will help create permanent art galleries for its “African Arts collection,” which it says will be open by 2025. The museum currently houses a number of exhibits and galleries, including “Climate in Crisis: Environmental Change in the Native Americas’ and ‘A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt’.
The museum is also promoting an upcoming exhibit, “Jimmy DeSana: Submission,” featuring a nude person holding orange cones on his hands and feet, among “other sexual content” that “may not be appropriate for all audiences.” .
“In conjunction with special exhibitions focused on the art of the African diaspora, our new galleries will be the second largest permanent collection of freely accessible African art in New York, and the only one located in Brooklyn,” the museum said. . “We want to thank Senator Chuck Schumer, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and Representative Hakeem Jeffries for their leadership in securing this transformative grant and making the new galleries possible!”
Scott argued that the reserves are part of a broken system in Congress and pointed to the rising national debt and the highest inflation in 40 years.
“Here’s what happens,” he said. “The federal government takes the tax dollars of hard-working Americans from all over the country and uses thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars for pet projects that benefit only a small number of people. In this broken system, Washington says: Give us your money, and politicians living all over the country will redirect it wherever they want. Americans deserve and expect that fiscal accountability is not used as a political piggy bank.”