Clash Over “Woke” On Capitol Hill

( – A row broke out on Capitol Hill about the meaning of the word “woke.” At a federal budget hearing on May 11th, lawmakers debated spending cuts as GOP members argued that too much of the federal budget is used on “woke” proposals. Republicans criticized coronavirus policies that promised financial relief to minorities, as well as spending on climate and LGBT initiatives.

House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said millions of dollars are spent on “woke” schemes such as LGBT pride. “If the folks in New York want to build an LGBTQ museum, have at it. But the people in Lubbock, Texas, ought not to underwrite it,” he said.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) hit back saying Republicans don’t really know what “woke” means, but it sounds anti-black, and therefore they’ve adopted the term as a nod to their “white nationalist” base.

It is the second time lawmakers have clashed over “woke” spending this year. In February, the GOP accused Democrats of wasting money on “equity” and “inclusion,” while Democrats said Republicans only targeted such spending because it galvanizes conservative voters. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said attacking “woke” spending allows Republicans to cut funding for the poorest while lacing their arguments with racism and bigotry.

Republicans argue that “wokeness” creates division in society and pits groups against each other by favoring some over others. Chairman Jodey Arrington provided an example from San Francisco, where local political leaders offered a cash payment to transgender inhabitants. The so-called GIFT program gives $1,200 per month to eligible transgendered people in the city.

Moves are also underway in California to provide millions of dollars to black residents. Democrats established a reparations task force in 2020 in response to Black Lives Matter demands. The panel proposed its recommendations in mid-May. It wants millions of dollars in payments and demands an apology from California for slavery, even though the state has never practiced it.

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