According to reports, NPR joins Americorps and Planned Parenthood on the chopping block in an effort by the Republican members in the House Appropriations Committee cut a total of $6.3B from the last fiscal budget and come in $8.8B below the amount requested by President Barack Obama.
The Committee’s Ranking Member Norman Dicks (D-WA) said, “This bill is an extremely partisan proposal, stands little chance of even being brought up on the House floor, and will rightly be disregarded by both the Senate and the President. This draft proposal only serves to underscore the desperate need for bipartisan cooperation on this subcommittee.” He said no attempt was made to work with Democrats on any aspect of the bill.
He listed several of the items contained in the bill, including:
Corporation for Public Broadcasting: The bill gradually phases out funding for the CPB over the next two fiscal years. CPB traditionally receives advance appropriations for two years, but this bill rescinds part of the funding previously provided for FY13 and FY14 and provides no funds for FY15.
National Public Radio: Prohibits the use of funds to acquire programs from or otherwise support NPR.
RBR-TVBR observation: One report noted that the bill seemed to have pleasing the Tea Party in mind more than anything else. Even if the bill does make it to the House floor in its current form, it will face almost certain death in the Senate.
There have been many Republican attempts to eliminate funding for all forms of public broadcasting over the past several years, particularly after NPR botched the handling of the Juan Williams incident. That event fueled a particularly fierce effort to defund NPR.
This effort seems more along the lines of a mere formality, with the simple goal of making sure that defunding continues to find a place in the Congressional Record.
However, if the Republicans managed a political trifecta this year – capturing the White House and Senate and holding the House, the fate of public broadcasting may well rest on a resulting Democratic Senate minority’s willingness to filibuster any attempts to deprive it of cash.