House GOP relents on LGBT center funding in $460B package as Dems cheer lack of ‘poison pills’

The $460 billion government funding bill the House of Representatives is set to vote on Wednesday had included $1 million marked for an LGBTQ community center that once held a drag event with children.

It comes as Democrats celebrate the lack of ‘poison pills’ in the bill while GOP hardliners lament what they call a lost opportunity to force passage of conservative policies.

The earmark for the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia was advocated for by Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., and Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman, both Pennsylvania Democrats.Fetterman and Casey later sent a letter asking that the funding be stripped, but Fetterman told reporters on Wednesday that it was his staff who sent the letter, while he supported the money.

A 2016 article published in the Philadelphia Gay News titled, ‘Youth celebrate the art of drag at William Way,’ described an 11-year-old boy named Esai and an 8-year-old named Max participating in a youth drag event at the center.

‘When Esai slides down from his chair, his blonde hair is in tight curls, his lips are purple and his eyes are lidded with pink and silver eye shadow against his rosy face. He teeters by in heeled boots far too big for him and changes out of his purple ‘We Are Made of Stars’ T–shirt. He could be any little girl playing dress-up, save for the expert cosmetic application,’ the article reads.

It described his makeup as being applied by ‘a bearded man in studded leather platform boots.’

‘Max dances to ‘No’ by Meghan Trainor, periodically dropping into the splits in his long, red dress. None of this is choreographed – it really is just kids dancing around, playing dress–up, having fun,’ it said of the 8-year-old.

The allocation was highlighted in a memo by Advancing American Freedom (AAF),a policy and advocacy group started by former Vice President Mike Pence.

It’s one of more than 6,000 allocations in the bill, which total $12.7 billion in spending – something conservative lawmakers are furious about.

‘Earmarks are basically, it’s congressional crack,’ Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., told Fox News Digital. ‘Congressional opium – and opium is O-P-M, other people’s money. Congress is hooked on it.’

‘You get people to vote for it, you increase spending, increased borrowing, you send our nation further down the track of fiscal irresponsibility,’ he said.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, argued that lawmakers will not have enough time to properly scour the bill’s contents with all of the additional details.

‘There is no way any mortal could actually vet all of the earmarks in the 48-hour time period they’ve given us so far. These highlights are just the tip of the iceberg. Heads must roll,’ he wrote.

Meanwhile, AAF’s memo pointed out that policies that GOP hardliners fought to include in the bill – like limitations on transgender medical care, pride flag displays, and critical race theory – were not included in the final bill.

It’s something Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., celebrated on Tuesday, declaring the bills were free of ‘devastating cuts or poison pill riders pushed by the MAGA.’

UPDATE: Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., asked for the funding to be stripped out of the package via unanimous consent after the Pennsylvania lawmakers raised objections.

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