Bush budget rankles Dingell


The FCC is looking to get 338.9M for fiscal 2009, about 26M more than it received for the current year, and President Bush has plugged in 20M for public outreach concerning the DTV transition. And as in the past, he has also proposed drastic cuts for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Powerful Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) objects to the latter and doesn’t think the former is enough.

According to Dingell, the CPB cut would take its core appropriation for FY2009 from 400M to 200M, and would reduce FY2010 from 420M to 220M. Even under Republican leadership, drastic cuts to CPB have traditionally been beaten back by Congress, and Dingell is promising yet another effort.

Regarding the FCC outreach fund, Dingell said, "The President has proposed an additional 20M for educating consumers about digital television. When added to the original 5M that was allotted by the Republican Congress that enacted this program, this is far too little to educate a nation of 300M people."

RBR/TVBR observation: Look for two things. First, it is only a matter of time before there is a press conference on Capitol Hill featuring the likes of Kermit the Frog and Big Bird, making the case that CPB is an oasis of educational programming for children and defending full funding for the service along the lines of the current allocation. On the DTV front, Dingell’s Committee on Energy and Commerce, and its Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, will be holding a hearing on the transition next week. We’ll be watching to see if Democrats on the committee will be able to scare up some cash to advertise the upcoming changes, and whether they will look to impose PSA mandates on broadcasters.