Republican dragged for complaining about COVID-19 funds for Howard University

Gaetz was called out by Twitter and Howard alum Sen. Kamala Harris

Rep. Matt Gaetz, (R-FL) speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill December 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. The articles of impeachment charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. House Democrats claim that Trump posed a 'clear and present danger' to national security and the 2020 election in his dealings with Ukraine over the past year. (Photo by Jose Luis Magana-Pool/Getty Images)

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was taken to task on Wednesday for questioning why the $2 trillion economic stimulus package included $13 million for the historically Black Howard University.

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The stimulus plan includes the money to Howard “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including to help defray the expenses directly caused by coronavirus and to enable grants to students for expenses directly related to coronavirus and the disruption of university operations.”

Still, Gaetz posted a tweet criticizing Congress for allotting the money to Howard.

“$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 wrote. “Instead, it’s going to Howard University. Education is important- but a $13 million check to Howard does not belong in COVID-19 relief.”

Many on Twitter, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a graduate of Howard, begged to differ.

“The bill provides $30 billion to protect students and help schools, colleges and universities combat the coronavirus. This is $13 million,” Harris tweeted, including a percentage breakdown showing the money was the equivalent of .04% of the total $30 billion earmark for education.

“Why do you take issue with money going to Howard, Congressman?” Harris questioned.

kamala harris

BETTENDORF, IOWA – JULY 16: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks during the AARP and The Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum on July 16, 2019 in Bettendorf, Iowa. Twenty democratic presidential candidates are participating in the AARP and Des Moines Register candidate forums that will feature four candidates per forum that are being to be held in cities across Iowa over five days. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Holly Robinson Peete tweeted back: “You already know.”

Another Harris Twitter follower also weighed in: “Taxpayers are paying Jerry. In 2017, Liberty students received $772M in aid via the Dept of Ed, almost $100M Pell grants and the rest as federal student loans, making Liberty the nation’s sixth-largest university recipient of federal aid,” wrote star gazer.

Others pointed out the fact that Howard University has a private hospital. The Twitter account HU College Democrats also responded to Gaetz’s tweet: “History Lesson: In 1926 Congress passed a federal law guaranteeing that Howard University receives annual appropriations. In fact we are 1 of 2 non military schools to receive annual appropriations. The $13 mil is going to HU and our Hospital, a #COVID19 treatment center.”

Gaetz also responded to Harris’ tweet, calling the $13 million a “pork project.”

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“Howard gets a special carve out not available to other institutions. Regular folks call it an earmark – or a pork project. I feel like our #COVID19 response should be above such games, Senator,” Gaetz tweeted.