Labor HHS proposal would block NPR funds, asks CPB to wean radio money by 2014

Print More

The draft for the House Appropriations Committee’s fiscal 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services bill, introduced Thursday (Sept. 29) by the subcommittee chairman Denny Rehburg (R-Mont.), would prohibit the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from funding NPR, and requests a report from CPB on how to remove NPR from federal funding by 2014. CPB receives the expected $445 million in funding over the upcoming year. In all, the bill proposes a 2.5 percent reduction in total discretionary funding over 2011, and 15.2 percent less than President Barack Obama’s budget request. Details from the committee here.

A spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee told Current that specifics on the report requested from CPB regarding NPR will be made public when the bill moves to the full committee for mark up. 

UPDATE: The Association of Public Television Stations issued this statement regarding the Labor-HHS proposal. “The House Appropriations Committee’s draft of the Labor-HHS bill contains some welcome provisions for public broadcasting as well as some very troubling ones. It is important to note that this is the subcommittee chairman’s draft and not a bill formally reported by the full committee. We look forward to working with the House, the Senate and the Administration on a final bill that assures federal funding for public broadcasting that reflects and supports our essential services to the public.”

NPR also told Current in a statement: “The ongoing debate over federal funding for public broadcasting is about local stations and the communities they serve. These local stations are invaluable community resources that rely on federal funds to inform their audiences. Eliminating or limiting federal funds will have far-reaching, negative impacts on local stations and, ultimately, on the listeners and communities that rely upon them. This impact will be most pronounced in rural and underserved communities, where local media choices are already limited and declining, but also across the public broadcasting system where local public broadcasting stations have become prominent, essential public service entities.”

  • On the subject of federal funding for NPR, Bob Gibson, Executive Director of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, recently said: “There are lots of funding sources for an organization as well-respected as National Public Radio. It’s unfortunate that it has become sort of a political football. Eventually that football will get kicked entirely into private funding. It’s a wedge issue that one party has sort of taken advantage of to talk about biases and yet most people find it a very informative source. It doesn’t need a lot of public funding. There are stations that do, however, need public funding to survive. So after public radio is defunded, which I think will happen within years, then we will see probably a smaller number of National Public Radio outlets, but more on the Internet.” (Gibson appeared on the Charlottesville, VA, politics interview program Politics Matters with host and producer Jan Madeleine Paynter discussing journalism