Senate committee gives CPB full funding, $20M for interconnection

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The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal year 2018 spending bill Thursday that includes $20 million to upgrade public broadcasting’s interconnection system, which the House had declined to fund.

Public broadcasters had requested $50 million for the distribution infrastructure project.

The Senate committee also provided CPB with level funding of $445 million in FY20, as well as $27.7 million for public TV’s Ready To Learn literacy initiative in FY18.

The House Appropriation bill, approved in July, likewise provided level CPB funding for FY20. President Trump’s budget proposed $30 million for CPB in FY18 to shut itself down.

The funds are part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill that allocated $164.1 billion for those departments and agencies.

Both bills still need approval by the full Senate and House.

CPB President Patricia Harrison said in a statement that the appropriation “is vital in ensuring that public media’s distinctive, high-quality educational and informational content and emergency alert services continue to reach every American, regardless of where you live or your economic means.”

“These federal funds are essential to local public television stations’ public service missions and to ensuring that everyone, everywhere in America, every day has access to these essential services for free,” said Pat Butler, president of America’s Public Television Stations, in a statement.

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