Spending bill in Congress keeps CPB funding intact

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CPB is set to receive its full requested appropriation in the spending bill nearing passage in Congress, which will fund the government through next September.

The 1,603-page bill, already passed by the House of Representatives, includes the full $445 million appropriation for CPB in fiscal year 2017. CPB traditionally receives its appropriation two years in advance to help facilitate production pipelines. Ready to Learn will also receive its requested funding of $25.7 million if the bill passes as written.

No critics of public media have surfaced to call for zeroing out CPB funding, said Patrick Butler, president of the Association of Public Television Stations and public TV’s chief lobbyist on the Hill. That would have been unheard of not too long ago.

“It’s a good thing for us, in that we don’t appear to be in the crosshairs as we were a few years ago,” Butler said. “Lawmakers are taking a different view than they were in the past about what we do and what they’re investing in.”

Focusing on public media’s educational mission has helped the outlook for funding, and allies in both parties have made inroads at the state and federal and state levels, Butler said.

“Not to diminish the work we have ahead of us, but I think we’ve made real progress,” he said.

Assuming that the spending bill does pass, Butler said, the next step will be to continue talking up public media’s mission to newly elected members of Congress.

“We have a big education effort ahead of us with the new Congress coming in,” Butler said. “But we’re looking forward to telling them about what we’re doing. And we’re feeling pretty good about the growing amount of support we’re getting on both sides of the aisle.”

Lawmakers have until midnight Saturday to pass the bill. The House of Representatives passed the $1.1 trillion measure Thursday, leaving a Senate vote and presidential approval to follow.