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Public Statements

John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The Kennedy Center, a Presidential memorial, is one of the Nation's busiest arts facilities, presenting more than 2,000 performances annually and hosting thousands of theater-goers, visitors, and tourists. In fact, it is considered by many to be the greatest performing arts center in the world.

The Kennedy Center also provides educational programs for both teachers and students from pre-kindergarten through college across the United States.

H.R. 4097 is a bipartisan bill that authorizes the Kennedy Center for a total of $36 million for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for maintenance, repair, and capital projects only.

These authorization levels are derived from the Kennedy Center's 2001 comprehensive building plan, and the funding is being held flat for fiscal year 2013 and 2014.

The bill also authorizes the Kennedy Center to construct a 100,000-square-foot addition for educational programs, using no Federal funds, and with the same restrictions on naming rights as the rest of the building.

In addition to the Kennedy Center's responsibility to run a national program promoting the arts, it is, first and foremost, a Presidential memorial, and we have a responsibility to fund its maintenance consistent with the dignity of a Presidential memorial. This memorial remains a fitting tribute to President John F. Kennedy, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 4097.

Mr. Speaker, I am cosponsor of this bill, but I am pleased to note that the Kennedy Center has gone very national, and it has taken not only its own programs nationally, but it aids arts programs throughout the United States. It raises its own funds, but of course, even if this weren't a Presidential memorial, it is very hard to raise private funds for maintenance and repair of a memorial in Washington. So I think that the flat funding for 2013 and '14 is more than justified.

I'd like to commend President Michael Kaiser, yes, and the board of trustees, once again, on the art services, the cultural services they are bringing across the Nation, as well as to the Nation's Capital.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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