WASHINGTON — The Senate passed a sweeping and unprecedented relief package for businesses and individuals impacted by the coronavirus pandemic late Wednesday. It includes $1,200 checks for most Americans, and beefed up unemployment benefits.
One part of the bill raising eyebrows, however, is the inclusion of $25 million in funding for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
In his press briefing Wednesday, President Donald Trump defended the arts hub's inclusion in the massive bill, saying the Kennedy Center has "suffered greatly" from its shut down. The Kennedy Center is to remain closed until at least May 10.
In a statement released Wednesday, The Kennedy Center said in part:
"The Kennedy Center is extraordinarily grateful that Congress has recognized our institution’s unique status and has included funding in its legislation to ensure that we can reopen our doors and stages as soon as we are able, and we will continue to work for and seek the support of our patrons to ensure the programming continues."
The bill passed the Senate with a unanimous vote of 96-0.
The House is expected to vote its passage on Friday.