By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
The historic $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed by the Senate has resulted in a variety of different responses.
Some have praised the legislation, while others still have questions.
And, then there’s Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
Gaetz took to Twitter to express his outrage that the measure included $13 million for Howard University, one of America’s historically black colleges and universities.
“Education is important, but a $13 million check to Howard does not belong in COVID-19 relief,” Gaetz stated.
Twitter immediately struck back.
“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,” the university tweeted in direct response to Gaetz’s tweet.
“Hopefully young Matt Gaetz will never need the services of Howard University Hospital, which is not only a COVID-19 treatment facility but, in addition to everything else, has done excellent work treating victims of substance abuse,” responded Dr. Greg Carr, the chair of Howard University’s Department of Afro American Studies and 2-time Male HBCU Professor of the Year.
In a post-script, Carr noted that Howard “also has top-notch psychiatrists.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a Howard graduate, also responded by giving Gaetz a bit of a math lesson.
“The bill provides $30 billion to protect students and help schools, colleges and universities combat the coronavirus. This is $13 million,” Harris tweeted.
“$13 million equals .04 percent of $30 billion,” she added. “Why do you take issue with money going to Howard, Congressman?”
Author Steve Hofstetter also chimed in.
“Why is Howard University in the relief bill? Great question! Howard University’s hospital is a COVID-19 treatment facility. It is within walking distance from your office. I hope this helps,” Hofstetter stated.
Many others also took issue with Gaetz.
“Howard University has a medical center that treats COVID-19 patients,” tweeted Helena Hamilton. “$25 million went to the Kennedy Center. How many patients are they helping right now? Yet, you didn’t tweet about them.”
“$100 billion to hospitals, but this one bothers you. I wonder what’s different about this particular hospital,” twitter user Barbara Garner wrote.
Sports journalist Maliik Obee tweeted: “It’s going to Howard University HOSPITAL. You literally work like 2 miles from there and would know if you actually left that musty office.”
Added Mondaire Jones, who worked in the Department of Justice under President Obama: “Congressman Gaetz, who works in DC, can’t imagine that Howard University has a hospital that serves the DC area community. But it does, and a quick Google search will tell anyone who doesn’t already know.”
Gaetz did have his supporters.
“We need relevant legislation, not special interest legislation. Keep fighting the good fight,” Jessi Ebben, a GOP Congressional Candidate out of Wisconsin, tweeted at Gaetz.
Gaetz said his position is simple. “The needs of American people and businesses should come first. We should be reinvesting in the US economy,” he said.