The rush measure put on the House floor to defund National Public Radio last week earned nay votes from 100% of the Democratic contingent, and they want to make sure that message is received loud and clear in both the Senate and the White House.
Democrats were dismayed at the “emergency” tag House Republicans put on the measure, since it had nothing to do with job creation and would have no effect on reducing the deficit.
A report by Hillicon Valley quoted Rutgers political scientist Ross Baker, who noted that the fact that the Democratic position “…brings together Heath Shuler and Maxine Waters,” or in other words, it unites members at or near the ideological polar extremes of the party.
It’s not that House Democrats are worried about the position of their colleagues in the Senate and in the White House. They are more concerned about how far the colleagues will go to protect NPR funding.
The Senate Democratic leadership, for example, can simply refuse to bring the House-passed bill to the Senate floor. But they also need to exhibit the same kind of resolve when it comes to preventing NPR defunding to be appended to a separate bill as an amendment, particularly while the two parties are trying to find agreement on budgetary matters with a possible government shut-down hanging in the balance.
Similarly, while the White House is all for maintaining NPR, it has not indicated how far it will go to protect it if the veto pen is the last-ditch method to save it.
RBR-TVBR observation: Public broadcasting has been under attack before and if it survives this latest assault, it will be under attack again. We will only note that as far as commercial broadcasters are concerned, about 46% respondents to an RBR-TVBR poll would just as soon not have public stations suddenly competing for local advertising dollars in underwriting drives, while only about 19% thought defunding might be good for business. Not that this bit of information is likely to make the slightest amount of difference in the current squabble.