You are hereTruthout: House Passes Bill to Cut NPR Funds

Truthout: House Passes Bill to Cut NPR Funds

By FZ - Posted on 19 March 2011

March 18, 2011- The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would cut federal funding of National Public Radio (NPR).

HR 1076, which passed 228-192, would also prohibit other public radio stations from using federal funds to acquire content from NPR to broadcast over their own networks. NPR says it earns about 40 percent of its funds through those fees, while the $5 million the network receives in government funds accounts for 2 percent of its revenue.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) introduced the bill a week after conservative activist James O'Keefe released a videotape of NPR fundraising executive Ron Schiller saying that the station "would be better off in the long run without federal funding." Schiller and NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, who are not related, both resigned after the video's release - though no one at NPR had seen the unedited footage at the time. It was Glenn Beck's web site, The Blaze, that first reported O'Keefe's video was heavily edited, which was the case with his previous videos on ACORN, and prompted NPR to issue a response stating that while Schiller made "egregious statements," O'Keefe "inappropriately edited the videos with an intent to discredit" NPR.

NPR also faced media scrutiny last year for firing commentator Juan Williams after he said that seeing Muslims on planes makes him worried and nervous.

Lamborn, who has long supported ending federal funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), said that Thursday's bill targeting NPR aims to reduce the country's deficit by cutting off "non-essential services."

"I want NPR to grow on its own. I'd like it to thrive. Just remove the taxpayers from the equation," Lamborn said on the House floor Thursday morning. He estimated that cutting government funds for NPR would save $60 million a year.

Many House Republicans agreed that NPR could be self-sustaining. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) said that the majority of NPR listeners are "wealthy" and "well-educated," and said that it is "time for us to remove the federal support system... and see what NPR can do on [its] own."

In a press statement sent out before the vote, the Obama administration said that it "strongly opposes" HR 1076. Reducing funds for public radios to acquire NPR content "would result in communities losing valuable programming, and some stations could be forced to shut down altogether," particularly in rural areas where such networks are scarce.


Mark Crispin Miller
Progressive Democrats of America