Mr. AMASH. Mr. Chairman, did you know the Federal Government subsidizes the Goo Goo Dolls, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Gipsy Kings? What about the Culture Shock East Coast Dance Concert?
Well, it does.
My amendment to H.R. 2584 will reduce the deficit, save taxpayer dollars, and stop subsidies to bands, including the Beach Boys. This amendment will reduce the deficit by $2.2 million by transferring funding from the National Capital Area Performing Arts program to the spending reduction account.
The National Capital Area Performing Arts program provides free [Page: H5564]
concerts and subsidized performances in and around Washington, DC, by paying for ushers, performers, lighting and other performance-related costs. The program funds venues like Carter Barron Amphitheater in DC. Even the National Park Service, which administers the program, has recommended its elimination, saying it distracts the Park Service from performing its core functions.
My amendment is simple. It will transfer all of the program's $2.2 million in funding to the spending reduction account. I like the Beach Boys as much as the next person, but that doesn't mean we should force taxpayers to subsidize my ticket if I go to their concert.
Don't break taxpayers' trust. I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense amendment to prevent the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars on niche entertainment programs in the Washington, DC, area.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. MORAN. First of all, I'm not sure why you want the Beach Boys to be the issue here. We were just discussing Mr. Watt's tenure as Secretary of the Interior. That was not so successful when he came after the Beach Boys.
But be that as it may, what we're really talking about here are a number of nonprofit organizations, and these are national memorials. Ford's Theater, Wolf Trap. I guess because the Beach Boys performed at Wolf Trap they are an issue. Actually, I would recommend to the gentleman that he watch them perform. I guess it's more my age than yours that can relate to them, but it was a pretty good performance. But I digress.
We're talking about Ford's Theater, Wolf Trap, Carter Barron, all part of the National Park System. The Kennedy Center is a national memorial. These are performing arts right here on the Capitol grounds as well.
Now we're talking about nationally significant sites, and the performances that occur, in fact, are part of the mission of these sites. They were authorized for members of the public, the taxpaying public, to come to a nonprofit venue and, in fact, be entertained. The national parks do that. They entertain the public that
pays for them, sometimes by seeing iconic sites, sometimes by hiking and camping, sometimes it's by performances. So the National Park Service is in keeping with its mission to interpret the purpose of these national sites.
These performances are seen by citizens, in fact, all over the country. Many people who visit our Nation's Capitol attend these performances as part of their trip to the District of Columbia. And the crowds that fill the West Lawn of the Capitol on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are testament to the public's support for this program.
In fact, if you were there on Memorial Day or the Fourth of July and turned to see the crowd, there are people as far as the eye can see, people representative of this vast, diverse country, and every single one of them had a smile on their face. Every single one of them was delighted, overjoyed that they were able to participate and appreciate and enjoy the performance that was put on on the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. That's part of our Nation's heritage. It's a proud part.
This amendment would do real harm to programs enjoyed by millions of Americans.
I would also suggest that this line item has already suffered a virtually devastating cut. It was funded at about $10 million. It's been cut to about $2 million. I mean, it's just barely hanging on. And now this amendment would eliminate it?
I mean, think about this. I know that some of the Members, at least as many Members of the majority side as the minority side, were there for the Memorial Day concert. I saw them. I was sitting with them. The chairman of the full Appropriations Committee, the chairmen of the subcommittees, the leadership of the House and Senate were all there honoring our troops.
Mr. MORAN. Not only were they there but Team 6 that had just dealt with Osama bin Laden in a fairly definitive manner, SEAL Team 6 was there. We couldn't identify them, but we all applauded for them, and they couldn't have been more overjoyed.
The gentleman makes a very good point. Colin Powell was basically the master of ceremonies.
Now, this is what we want to eliminate? This is what is such a threat to our budget as taking so much money? It's not taking that much money, and whatever money it's taking, it's giving back far more in return.
Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment, and I agree with the words that were spoken by the gentlemen from Virginia and from Washington.
In these tough economic times, it is important that we keep some things that are very important, I think, to the American people. If you look at the programs that have been put on by the Capitol concerts on the Fourth of July and on Memorial Day and what they've done for our troops and for really the spirit of America, I think is vitally important. They do things at Ford's Theater and other places around this country.
We have to remember: this is our Nation's Capital. The things they do here are important. They're important for our country, not just for this small piece of land we call Washington, DC. So I hope that Members on both sides of the aisle would recognize the importance of these programs and the work they do and the importance that they have for the American people and would reject this amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Amash).
The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.