Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTo stabilize Central America, the US must craft better incentives for trade Majority in new poll say US headed in wrong direction Biden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' MORE (D-Calif.) knocked Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House Gallego on Jan. 6 rioters: 'F--- them' The Hill's Morning Report - For Biden, it goes from bad to worse MORE (R-Fla.) on Twitter on Wednesday night after the congressman took issue with a provision in the coronavirus stimulus package passed by the Senate that included $13 million for Howard University, among other components.
“$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,” Gaetz said in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon that included screenshots of the provision laid out in the coronavirus relief legislation.
“Instead, it's going to Howard University,” he continued. “Education is important- but a $13 million check to Howard does not belong in COVID-19 relief.”
In response, Harris, a graduate of the historically black university, went after Gaetz on Twitter, saying: “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,” she wrote in a tweet later Wednesday night. “Why do you take issue with money going to Howard, Congressman?”
The bill provides $30 billion to protect students and help schools, colleges and universities combat the coronavirus. This is $13 million.— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) March 26, 2020
$13 million = .04% of $30 billion
Why do you take issue with money going to Howard, Congressman? https://t.co/7nyaijShhd
The Florida Republican’s comments also prompted “Howard University” to trend at the top of Twitter into late Wednesday. Many noted the school has a hospital that has been designated as one of Washington, D.C.’s COVID-19 treatment facilities. The university also has a medical group known as the Howard University Faculty Practice Plan with the same designation.
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. https://t.co/hsu8sTGUc1— Gillian Brockell is social distancing (@gbrockell) March 26, 2020
It also includes $7 million for Gallaudet, a DC university for the deaf community Rep. Gaetz failed to mention.— Gillian Brockell is social distancing (@gbrockell) March 26, 2020
Because DC is not a state, its budget is controlled by Congress. There is no state leg, no governor - no Cuomo or DeWine - it can appeal to for relief. pic.twitter.com/0sIaDjvdud
How embarrassing is it that @mattgaetz is a U.S. congressman and doesn’t understand that Howard University is federally chartered which explains why it has specifically appropriated funds in the bill?— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) March 26, 2020
Moreover HU is a medical school and hospital with class-1 trauma facilities. https://t.co/b8Bv219tyk
Howard University Hospital is a Level-1 Trauma Center https://t.co/uOMRV0VLFf— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) March 26, 2020
Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) also weighed in on the matter on Twitter, telling the congressman: "@HowardU is federally chartered. Congressional appropriations fund Howard University and Howard University Hospital. It is absolutely appropriate for Howard University to receive emergency funding."
Gaetz defended his tweets early Thursday, responding to critics by noting that he had gone after a number of other provisions including for unions and refugee funding. He said was playing "the earmark card."
I was playing the “earmark card”— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 26, 2020
Why do some people feel the need to make everything about race? https://t.co/xXMRzwbd3J
Claiming I “singled out” anyone in Twitter criticism is a dumb take, Roland. I went after:— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 26, 2020
- Howard’s earmark
- Union giveaways
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- Migrant & Refugee funding
- Chinese controlled businesses, and
- Republican Senator Burr
All yesterday. https://t.co/Gbv0JgQGvi
Howard University tweeted "HU Facts" amid the online conversation late Wednesday noting it operates a "world-class medical simulation center."
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
“Howard University is one of many higher-education institutions that serves underrepresented communities, which are being considered for emergency supplemental funding as we look to support students who are facing unique challenges in response to COVID-19,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement to The Hill on Thursday.
“As one of only two congressionally chartered non-military universities, Howard University does not have access to Title III and other federal resources targeting higher education institutions. Thus, the proposed amount of emergency funding allotted to Howard is comparable to the support proposed for other colleges and universities in response to this unprecedented pandemic,” he continued.
“It also reflects Congress' recognition that education is vital to the future of our nation's economy. Howard University proudly serves a diverse population of students where 49 percent receive Pell Grants,” he added. “The institution is the top producer of African American undergraduate students who attend medical schools across the country.”
--This report was updated at 12:29 p.m.