U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), ranking member of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (Photo credit: Office of Rep. Quigley)

Republicans on House Appropriations Subcommittee Accused of Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry

Republican members of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) filed en bloc amendment on Tuesday striking three Community Project Funding requests from a spending package containing a total of 2,680.

Speaking to the Washington Blade minutes before markup was set to resume, the Subcommittee’s Ranking Member, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), pledged to file an amendment restoring funding for the three projects: LGBTQ Secure Housing Inc., Gay Community Center of Philadelphia, and The LGBT Center of Greater Reading.

“The only three they pulled out were projects for the LGBTQ community,” Quigley said. “So, you know, it’s not hard to draw conclusions with that,” in fact, “it’s hard to draw any other conclusion.”

Quigley added, “You’ve gotta ask yourself, how did they find these three?”

Quigley added, “one could speculate — reasonably — that somebody in leadership said, ‘we have members that won’t vote for the base bill if it has projects for the gay community.’”

Having served on the Appropriations Committee for the better part of a decade, Quigley told the Blade he has “never seen anything like” Tuesday’s move by his Republican colleagues.

“If you’re going to do this sort of thing, which I would argue is is prejudiced,” the congressman asked, “why would you do it so publicly?”

Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) drew attention to two additional Community Project Fundings that would ultimately go to benefit LGBTQ individuals—however those are not being targeted for removal.

If instead of these three projects, Republicans had struck funding from “the NAACP or the Urban League, [they] would — rightfully so — be called racist bigots,” U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), a member of the Appropriations Committee and chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, told colleagues during the first THUD markup on Tuesday.

“When you do it to the LGBT community, it’s another frickin’ day in Congress,” he said, adding, “This is below the dignity of this Committee.”

The congressman recalled instances in which he had been the victim of homophobic hate, such as when “I wasn’t out yet [and had] left a gay bar and two people followed me and beat me with a baseball bat till I was bloodied and unconscious and called me a ‘faggot.’”

“This is what you guys do by introducing amendments like this,” Pocan said.

The congressman said U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) should not vote for the bill unless he is looking for a path to early retirement, given his new Congressional district includes the famously gay city of Palm Springs.

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), ranking member of the U.S. House Budget Committee, issued a statement objecting to the Republicans’ revocation of funding for one of the projects he had earmarked.

“As a member of Congress, I’m able to designate up to 15 worthy recipients in my district of federal funding,” he said. “One of those is the historic William Way LGBTQ Center in Center City, Philadelphia.”

“Well, just today with no notice, the Republican majority filed an amendment that out of over 3,800 projects from members of Congress, 3,800 that have been approved, they are now voting to strip funding from the only three projects that have LGBTQ in the organization’s name,” Boyle said.

“This is outrageous,” the congressman said. “This is one of the most obvious and disgusting examples of bigotry that I have seen in my career and in my life.”

Story courtesy of the Washington Blade via the National LGBTQ Media Association. The National LGBTQ Media Association represents 13 legacy publications in major markets across the country with a collective readership of more than 400K in print and more than 1 million + online. Learn more here: https://nationallgbtmediaassociation.com/