Trump again calls for zeroing out pubmedia funds

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President Trump once again proposed ending funding for public broadcasting in his fiscal year 2020 budget released Monday, the third time the administration has sought to eliminate the support.

The draft budget would cut all but about $30 million of the $445 million that CPB has received annually for four years. Congress ultimately provided level funding for CPB in the FY19 budget, which Trump signed.

Trump’s FY20 draft also aims to zero out funding for interconnection, the ongoing rebuild of public broadcasting’s distribution infrastructure, which received $20 million for FY19. It also seeks to end Ready To Learn, public TV’s preschool education program, which received $27.7 million this fiscal year.

As in past years, the proposal also seeks to shut down two agencies that provide grants to public media. The National Endowment for the Arts would get $30 million, “sufficient funding for orderly termination of all operations over two years,” and the National Endowment for the Humanities would get $38 million to begin closing down.

Public broadcasting’s national organizations issued statements Monday voicing disappointment with the president’s budget. “There is no viable alternative to the federal investment to accomplish the mission that Congress assigned to public media and that the American people overwhelmingly support,” said CPB President Pat Harrison.

PBS President Paula Kerger said that PBS and its 350 member stations “have earned bipartisan Congressional support over the years due to the high value the American people place on the services we provide their communities.”

And Pat Butler, president of America’s Public Television Stations, said the organization is “grateful that Congress approved full funding for public broadcasting in FY 2019, and we are hopeful that Congress will increase funding for public media in the FY 2020 appropriations cycle and beyond.”

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