For the first time in five years, the president of the United States has not proposed eliminating funding for CPB.
President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget, released Friday, proposes $475 million in funding for CPB in fiscal year 2024, which would remain level with the FY23 appropriation approved last year. CPB is forward-funded by two years.
Biden’s budget also proposes level funding for Ready To Learn at $29.5 million for FY22. The Department of Education grant program funds public television educational content, research and community outreach for educators. The budget also proposes level funding for interconnection at $20 million.
Trump proposed zeroing out CPB’s budget for four consecutive years, but Congress upheld the funding.
In a statement, CPB President Pat Harrison said Biden’s proposal “underscores that federal funding for public media is a vital investment.” She added that “CPB looks forward to working with the Administration and Congress to ensure a strong and sustainable public media system that serves all Americans.”
America’s Public Television Stations President Pat Butler said in a statement that Biden’s proposed budget is “a good first step” but added that public broadcasting needs millions more to be sustainable.
“We are grateful that 149 Members of Congress, of both parties, have called for a federal investment of $565 million for public broadcasting in the next appropriations cycle to support our public service work in education and remote learning, public safety communications and civic leadership,” Butler said. “We anticipate that a similar commitment of bipartisan support for this level of funding will soon be coming in the Senate.”
In addition to appropriations funding, CPB has received $250 million in emergency funding over the past year to help stabilize stations during the coronavirus pandemic. The corporation is also seeking $300 million from Congress to support public media’s infrastructure.
Butler said stations are ready to “revolutionize education in a post-pandemic America,” train adults for better jobs and enhance telehealth and national security initiatives.
“The greater the federal investment in this work, the better and faster we can do it,” Butler said.
That’s a bad sign. Means Biden and his cabinet probably aren’t interested in restoring PTFP thru CPB as the proposal was reported a few weeks ago.
Now is the time to go big on public media as a remedy for the market failure that is fueling the decline of journalism in all but the largest markets.
This is a lost opportunity, a true failure of imagination by the Biden Administration.