Millions from Biden’s COVID relief bill went to museum, university programs pushing social and climate justice
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Dozens of cultural and educational institutions have spent millions of taxpayer dollars through President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package to fund programs promoting social and climate justice.
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, which Democrats passed in March 2021 without any Republican support, was touted by the Democratic Party as an economic necessity to get the country through the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which received $135 million from the plan, announced last October that it had allocated $87.8 million in ARP funds to “nearly 300 cultural and educational institutions for help recover from the economic impact of the pandemic, retain and rehire workers, and reopen sites, facilities and programs.”
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However, many institutions have received grants for projects it had little to do with post-pandemic recovery efforts, according to research from American Crossroads shared and verified by Fox News Digital.
For example, $499,023 went to the University of Montana for multiple racial justice programs, including a series of public lectures on “racial justice, death and indigenous knowledge”.
An additional $50,000 in ARP funds went to a Northern Mariana Islands nonprofit called 500 Sails to “reopen programs that teach native canoe building and explore pre-colonial sea life.” The same nonprofit had previously received more than $14,000 from two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans established by the CARES Act in May 2020 and February 2021.
The NEH also awarded $471,905 in ARP funds to the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh for the “continuing development” of an existing exhibit on ancient Egypt, after the museum had already received $5.8 million in the PPP stimulus funds in April 2021.
the Institute for the History of Science in Philadelphia received $359,097 from the NEH to create a “multi-platform project exploring the historical roots and enduring legacies of racism in American science and medicine”. The same institute has already received a PPP loan of $1,230,100 April 14, 2020.
An additional $200,000 in ARP funds went to the Chicago Humanities Festival to create “six humanities programs on racial justice, gender equality, and building an inclusive society.” The group previously secured a total of $778,236 from two PPP loans between April 2020 and January 2021.
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The colossal sum of $3.5 million was awarded to the non-profit American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) for a grant program providing relief funds to colleges and universities across the country addressing “racial equity, climate change, international relations, pandemic recovery, and building democracy.” Through this program, the University of Maryland in Baltimore County received a grant for its Public Humanities program which “advances social justice issues focused on three main axes: public information, racial equity and food and land justice”.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa received a grant through the ACLS program to broadcast radio messages throughout the Hawaiian Islands from August 2022 through May 2023 on topics such as “Social Justice; Rights and Culture of Native Hawaiians; compassionate and visionary leadership; surviving internment and racism during World War II; overcoming black prejudice in Hawai’i; surviving pandemics and natural disasters and preparing for climate change.”
The Department of Gender, Race, and Identity at the University of Nevada, Reno, received an ACLS ARP-funded grant for a project titled “Community Knowledge and Visions for Racial, Health, and and Climate,” which includes “a series of year-long collaborative programs involving northern Nevada’s underrepresented communities.”
Northern Arizona University has received an ACLS grant to revitalize two undergraduate programs focused on “climate justice, racial equity, public health, immigrant inclusion, housing affordability, and food systems fair”.
The US bailout is coming under increasing scrutiny for its effects on the US economy. Inflation hit 8.3% in April, and some economists, including former Obama administration economic advisers, have blamed the $1.9 COVID-19 relief package for overheating the economy. .
Rep. Ralph Norman, RS.C., who serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said, “This is what happens when billions of dollars are rushed through Congress without due order, without hearings and with no regard for the taxpayer.”
“This type of far-left spending should outrage all Americans, and the NEH leadership owes us a detailed justification for its use of US bailout funds,” Norman said in a statement provided to Fox News Digital. “As long as Democrats control Congress, it would be naive to expect meaningful oversight here. But make no mistake: After Republicans cleaned up in November and took the hammers in January, I expect to full accountability not just on these examples, but everywhere there has been waste and misuse of Covid funds.”
Jay Greene, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said the examples of project grants highlighted by Fox News Digital are “doubly insulting to the American taxpayer.”
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“First, none of these projects would be supported by the average taxpayer if they were actually asked if their hard-earned money should [be] spent on things like ‘native canoe building’ and racial justice conferences,” Greene said in a statement. “The only way the federal government can get away with spending taxpayer dollars on Pork projects that only a handful of people want is burying the details in a massive bill amid a pandemic emergency. Policymakers should not spend public money on anything that they and the majority of their fellow citizens are unwilling to spend their own money on.
“Secondly, these examples are insulting because they highlight social and political values that are abhorrent to a majority of voters,” he continued. “Poll after poll, the majority of Americans reject the idea of treating people differently based on race and making racial differences the central narrative of our country.”
NEH did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.