Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) on Wednesday (Jan. 5) reintroduced two bills to defund public broadcasting. H.R. 68 would end all federal appropriations for CPB, while H.R. 69 would specifically deny federal money to NPR. Both would take place after fiscal year 2013.
“While I like much of NPR’s programming, the fact is, it is luxury we cannot afford to subsidize,” Lamborn said in a statement. “This effort to cut government spending should be part of the larger push from this new Republican Congress to cut spending and get our nation’s fiscal house in order.” Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
NPR has become a conservative target since the firing of correspondent Juan Williams in October. He had admitted on Fox News that passengers in Muslim garb on airplanes made him nervous (Current, Nov. 1, 2010).
JAN. 7 UPDATE: The bills face a typical lengthy process: First committee hearings, then committee markup, next committee approval, then a vote in the full House. Then the Senate receives the bill for consideration. Lamborn may pursue other strategies for passage, his Communications Director Catherine Mortensen told Current. Lamborn could push to have the bills brought to the House floor as part of the ongoing YouCut program, a strategy that failed last November in a House with fewer Republicans. Or he could work to have the legislation inserted into a larger bill of spending cuts. “Congressman Lamborn will pursue an ‘all-of-the above’ approach to get his legislation passed,” Mortensen said. “Depending on which route the bill takes, it could be a matter of weeks or months before the bill gets a vote on the House floor.”
How tragic it would be to have only media beholden to corporate interests giving an already woefully uninformed American public the news.
If the record of news and information delivered for more than a quarter-century by a non-commercial entity such as CPB/NPR is compared to the “Nation’s most conservative politician” Cong. Lamborn of Colorado, wouldn’t his reintroduction of bills to end federal support be considered extreme, biased and a financial waste of valuable congressional time? Lamborn’s record speaks for itself, and as fearful as it is, his First Amendment rights are protected as are other citizens of America. If “Coloradans” are in agreement with his bill, then where’s the outcry or support? I can’t believe that Lamborn doesn’t understand there are millions of voices in America that require aid from the government to at least be heard. What’s he afraid of that his dogged campaign is designed to shut down the open-end effort by the government to allow public communities to speak on issues. And if Lamborn expects impartiality among the myriad of corporate-owned broadcasters to provide balance, then he’s using an errant prism to view the power of the First Amendment rights. The annual cost of a multitude of elements within the defense budget would cover operating costs for CPB/NPR for the next two decades. Seems as though he should be working on much more important issues, such as finding wasteful spending rather than short-changing Americans from using some of their taxes to exercise their rights to speak.
Lamborn is not saying to shut down NPR, he simply feels that NPR should be able to financially stand on its own. Does NPR really support free speech though? This doesn’t appear to be the case with Juan Williams. If the American taxpayer still wants to continue to support NPR, then they will do so in a free market.