Senate rebuff McCain bid to zero out PTFP

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The Senate yesterday defeated an amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to eliminate $20 million for PTFP from the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill, reports the Government Executive publication’s website. The Public Telecommunications Facilities Program is the only ongoing source of infrastructure assistance to the pubcasting system, according to the Association of Public Television Stations. It was allotted $20 million for fiscal 2009; McCain argued that the funds are not necessary because work is been completed. The Senate Appropriations Committee said in its report accompanying the bill: “Over the years, this funding has been critical to helping stations maintain services by providing funds to stations in need of equipment replacements and upgrades.” APTS is asking Congress to undo Bush-era cuts to PTFP. PubTV requested $44 million for the program in fiscal 2010, more than double last year’s level of $18.8 million and just over its 2003 level of $43.2 million. APTS leaders at Capitol Hill Day in February (Current, Feb. 17) noted that stations’ PTFP applications have outnumbered grants 2-to-1 between ’04 and ’08.