A Republican senator said that only about 10 percent of a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package actually went to dealing with the pandemic, asserting that American taxpayers would be alarmed by where the funds are going.
About $15 million in COVID-19 recovery funds were spent on "anti-racism" initiatives and similar education programs, Braun remarked. He was referring to last year's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that was signed into law by President Joe Biden.
In October of last year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal government agency, announced that $15.2 million in American Rescue Plan project grants would be handed down to "institutions across 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to support the role of museums and libraries in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic."
According to disclosures posted on the IMLS website, for example, the agency awarded grants to various organizations to promote the "anti-racism" agenda. In one instance, it gave the Rochester Museum and Science Center in New York about $50,000 for a field trip for students to see an exhibit that features the "story of a community-led effort to remove racist artwork from a historic carousel, as a tool for anti-racism education."
Braun said that taxpayers would be "shocked" to know where the funding went and how much is still unspent, adding: "Now we're seeing how it's blowing up around the country with stuff like this. It's no good. We've asked [the federal government] to tell us what is left unspent."
"We're going to see it little by little, because they know if they did it all at once, it would shock everybody big time. They're not going to pull it off," Braun continued.
Biden touted the American Rescue Plan on his first day in office last year, saying that it's designed to "[invest] in America" to create "millions of additional good-paying jobs, combatting the climate crisis, advancing racial equity, and building back better than before."
A spokesperson for IMLS told The Epoch Times that the "American Rescue Plan Act allocated funding to IMLS to support the vital programs and services libraries, museums, federally recognized tribes, and nonprofit organizations serving Native Hawaiians provide to their communities," adding that it "helps museums and libraries to connect, and sustain meaningful relationships, with their communities."
" Museums and libraries provide communities with essential services and access to all kinds of health, job, government, educational, social, and cultural resources. These awards enabled museums and libraries to remain strong and relevant community institutions by responding to the challenging issues facing their communities resulting from the pandemic," it added.