YOUNGSTOWN Measure for arts funding tabled
A Traficant spokesman said the request had been tabled while a House committee sought more information.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A House of Representatives committee refused to approve a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. to provide $10 million in additional funding for the development of a Youngstown performing-arts complex.
The House Resources Committee voted 24-18 Wednesday to table the request, with Democrats and a few Republicans voting in the majority.
Although Traficant is a registered Democrat, his decision in January to cross party lines and vote for a Republican as speaker of the House has drawn the ire of his party, which has denied him committee assignments.
Traficant, who votes often with Republicans, hasn't won back Democratic friends with his recent federal indictment on 10 felony counts, including bribery, racketeering and tax extortion.
Traficant, of Poland, D-17th, secured $2 million for the project, known as the Millennium Cultural Cooperative Park, in December.
The measure: The additional $10 million would have been paid in $2 million increments over five years beginning in 2002 if it were approved.
"The bill was tabled because the committee wants more information on it," said Charles Straub, Traficant's spokesman. "It doesn't mean it's dead. It will be looked at again at a later date."
Traficant will continue to fight to get approval for the park bill, Straub said.
U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall II of Beckley, W.Va., the committee's ranking Democrat, said, "The fact of the matter is that an authorization of this nature and magnitude for an individual member of Congress is unprecedented," according to Congressional Quarterly, a Web site and magazine that covers Congress.
"Mr. Traficant is unprecedented," U.S. Rep. James V. Hansen of Farmington, Utah -- the Republican chairman of the committee who voted to support the bill -- said in response, CQ reported.
The $2 million obtained last year by Traficant will be used for improvements and expansion of the Youngstown Playhouse off Glenwood Avenue, with the addition of a performance center for youth.
The $10 million proposal was to go toward buying downtown property for a cultural park, an arts education complex, a cultural center for the arts, a playhouse, an experimental showcase facility and an outdoor performance park.