After years of battling to keep its federal funding from going to zero, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is finding the Democratic majority in Congress more friendly. A House subcommittee last week not only approved CPB funding, but also extra funding for the DTV conversion and the public radio interconnection system. Action on the Senate side could be coming this week.
The legislation approved by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education provides CPB a $430 million advance appropriation for FY 2011, as well as $40 million for digital conversion and $27 million for the public radio interconnection system for FY 2009. In addition, the bill provides $24 million in funding for Ready To Learn (RTL). If enacted, the proposed advance appropriation for FY 2011 would represent a $10 million dollar increase over the FY 2010 level.
"On behalf of the tens of millions of Americans who utilize public service media, we would like to thank Chairman Obey, Ranking Member Walsh and the other members of the Labor-HHS Subcommittee for the funding provided to CPB in this bill," said Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of CPB. "The subcommittee had to make many difficult decisions in allocating resources given today’s extraordinary budgetary pressures. We appreciate that the bill provides CPB with an advance appropriation, which affords public broadcasters a measure of certainty in their business planning, interconnection funding as well as an increase in funding for digital conversion, which will help public broadcasters tap the potential of digital technology," she added.
What’s next? Consideration by the full House Appropriations Committee is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday. The Senate Appropriations Committee could mark up its version of this legislation as early as this week as well.