John Fetterman's office yanked support for $1 million in funding for an LGBTQ+ community center — but he says he wasn't a part of it and was 'horrified' when he found out

Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania at the Capitol on February 12, 2024.
Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania at the Capitol on February 12, 2024.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Sens. John Fetterman and Bob Casey yanked their support for $1 million in funding for an LGBTQ+ center.

  • But Fetterman says he wasn't part of that decision and was "horrified" when he found it.

  • "It's bullshit… [who] cares what the Libs of Tiktok has to say about that?" said Fetterman.

Sen. John Fetterman's office issued a letter on Tuesday rescinding a request for $1 million in federal funding for an LGBTQ+ community center.

But the Pennsylvania Democrat said on Wednesday that he was not part of that decision, and that he was "horrified" when he found out about it.

"I wasn't part of that letter. I know that seems strange, but I wasn't a part of that," Fetterman said at the Capitol. "Apparently, people decided that they weren't going to have the votes to pass it."

Both Fetterman and fellow Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania issued letters rescinding their support for a $1 million "earmark" for the William Way LGBT Community Center that was tucked into a government funding bill set to be voted on in the House on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, at the 11th hour my staff was made aware that funding for William Way, which was in the bill because I championed it, would not pass in the FY24 appropriations process," Fetterman said in a follow-up statement via his office. "The choice was either to pull it or watch it get stripped out, attacked by Republicans, and ultimately killed."

The decision came in part after a "Libs of TikTok" tweet highlighted the center's purported hosting of BDSM and sex kink parties.

A spokesperson for Casey said that while the senator will "continue to support the LGBTQ community" in Pennsylvania and "believes that consenting adults have the right to do whatever they want in their free time," he decided to pull the funding after learning about how the facility was being used.

"These types of appropriations projects warrant the highest level of scrutiny on behalf of taxpayers," the spokesperson said. "Senator Casey withdrew his request for federal funding when new information about the third-party use of the facility emerged."

House Republicans had previously stripped the funding, originally supported by Philadelphia-area Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle, from their version of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill over the summer.

At the time, Fetterman called it an act of "flat-out, mask-off bigotry." He later secured funding for the center via the Senate version of the bill.

Boyle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fetterman told Business Insider that he intended to withdraw the letter, but it's likely too late — the final version of the earmark requests has been entered into the congressional record.

And Fetterman affirmed his support for funding the community center.

"We should be pushing for that," said Fetterman. "I know I'm new, but I never realized that the Libs of TikTok should determine, you know, our priorities and what we're going to support."

"It's bullshit… [who] cares what the Libs of TikTok has to say about that?" he added. "Everyone in our caucus should be voting for this. We have the votes."

In the follow-up statement via his office, Fetterman also said that he doesn't "believe that we should penalize this center based on events that are entirely legal among consenting adults," and that he would push to secure funding for the center later this year, during the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2025.

Read the original article on Business Insider