Conservatives have been selecting one small provision after another to justify their opposition to the proposed economic stimulus package; one of the latest is a measure sending $50 million to the National Endowment for the Arts. On the House floor today, Rep. David Obey (D-WI) defended the provision. He noted that it represents a small sliver of the stimulus, which will keep local organizations and artists working, and that “we have an obligation to salvage as many jobs as we can” regardless of field:
People in the arts field are losing their jobs just like anybody else. You have local arts agencies, you have local orchestras, local symphonies, local arts groups of all kinds who are shutting down, laying people off and in a number of instances going bankrupt. This is a small, tiny effort to keep some of those people employed over the next two years. I make no apology for it. We have an obligation to salvage as many jobs as we can, regardless of the fields in which people work.