In yet another sign that Congress can work together, a bipartisan vote in a Senate Appropriations subcommittee has approved level funding for public broadcasting at $445 million for FY2018 — noncommercial broadcasting is forward funded in an effort to depoliticize it.
Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) president Patrick Butler praised Subcommittee chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for setting funding priorities in tough economic times, and for including the public service mission of public broadcasting among those priorities.
Also given level funding was the Ready to Learn early childhood education initiative ($25.7 million).
Butler said he was hopeful that funding could ultimately be restored for an upgrade of public TV's network.
"[W]e are greatly encouraged by the growing bipartisan support in Congress for public broadcasting, as demonstrated in today’s subcommittee vote and last week’s vote in the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee," Butler said. "We look forward to working with Members of Congress as the appropriations process moves forward from this very promising beginning.”
Noncommercial TV funding has more often divided Republicans and Democrats that united them, with Democrats generally siding with Big Bird and Republicans arguing that in tough times, noncom funding cuts needed to be in the conversation, particularly when they alleged a liberal bias in some of the programming.