N.Y. Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney proposes bill to defund NPR

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Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., participates in a House Republicans news conference Feb. 2, 2022.

Claudia Tenney, a Republican congresswoman representing a district in upstate New York, proposed legislation Friday to halt federal funding for NPR.

“American taxpayers should not be forced to fund NPR, which has become a partisan propaganda machine!” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Tenney’s “Defund NPR Act of 2024” stipulates that no taxpayer dollars can “be made available to or used to support” NPR, including “through the payment of dues to or the purchase of programming” from NPR “by a public broadcast station using Federal funds.”

In a press release, Tenney said that “as a former newspaper owner and publisher, I understand the importance of non-partisan, balanced media coverage, and have seen first-hand the left-wing bias in our news media.”

Tenney’s bill also seeks to have CPB return a portion of its funding for fiscal years 2024–26.

An NPR spokesperson said in a statement to Current that the network opposes “all efforts to eliminate federal funding for public radio and the public broadcasting system. We’re surprised and disappointed by the introduction of this legislation, which would effectively overturn Congresswoman Tenney’s own bipartisan Community News and Small Business Support Act and harm thousands of local and community journalists and station employees.”

The act NPR referred to was introduced in July 2023. It would provide tax credits to small businesses if they place ads with local news outlets and would give a payroll tax credit to employers of local journalists.

“Eliminating resources that have received overwhelming bipartisan approval for decades would cause irreparable harm to NPR member stations across the entire country, including in the Congresswoman’s own district,” the NPR spokesperson added.

Tenney’s effort to cut NPR funds follows a Fox News report earlier this week that Sen. Marsha Blackburn is also considering legislation targeting support for the network. Blackburn previously called for defunding NPR in 2011.

NPR is facing renewed criticism from Republican politicians who say that its journalism has a liberal bias. In her press release, Tenney referred to the suspension of NPR editor Uri Berliner, who penned an essay for The Free Press accusing the network of no longer having “an open-minded spirit” and criticizing the network’s DEI efforts. Berliner announced his resignation Wednesday.

Tenney’s release also referred to NPR CEO Katherine Maher’s 2018 post on Twitter in which she called Donald Trump a racist.

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