House Committee Says Yes To More Public Broadcasting Dollars


Don’t think having Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives makes a difference for PBS and NPR?

The House Appropriations Committee has proposed $495 million in advance funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in fiscal year 2022—the first increase for public broadcasting in 10 years.

The proposed increase is included in a broader appropriations bill funding the operations of the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and related agencies. The bill was reported Wednesday (5/8) to the full House for consideration later this year.

“While we appreciate the Congress maintaining stable funding for public broadcasting during the economic and political turmoil of the past decade, the purchasing power of that level funding has been significantly eroded over time, and the increase which the House Appropriations Committee has proposed is desperately needed to help America’s public television stations teach more children, protect more lives and property, and prepare citizens more fully for their indispensable role in guiding the world’s most important democracy,” said America’s Public Television Stations President/CEO Patrick Butler.

Butler said his association was also grateful that the committee provided level funding of $20 million in fiscal 2020 for an annual interconnection and infrastructure account, which is the backbone of the public broadcasting system, supporting nationwide emergency alerting, linking local stations with national programming, connecting stations with each other, and creating operational efficiencies.

Further, Butler said APTS is especially pleased that the committee provided $30 million in FY 2020 for Ready To Learn, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports public television’s essential work — on-air, online and on-the-ground — in early childhood education.

“This increase of more than $2 million will allow public television to enhance the successful national-local partnership that produces high-quality, curriculum-aligned national programming and enables local public television stations to make the most of that programming through engagement with community partners including schools, Head Start centers, Boys Clubs and Girls Clubs, and other institutions to help build science, math and literacy skills of children between the ages of two and eight,” Butler said. “Public television content created through Ready To Learn grants has been proven to help close the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers.”