Committee Restores Some CPB Funds

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The full House Appropriations Committee Tuesday restored $20 million cut from the FY2007 appropriation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting--it is back up to $400 million--but it left over $80 million in cuts, including all the funding for Ready To Learn and Ready To Teach programs and money for the digital transition, as well as any advance appropriation for 2009.

CPB President Patrician Harrison was politic in her response, as she was when the initial cuts were made in subcommittee last week, but continued to push for more money. “While we appreciate the committee’s efforts in restoring $20 million of the $104.5 million in cuts originally proposed by the subcommittee," she said, "and understand the difficult choices confronting the Appropriations Committee, CPB and the public broadcasting community are nonetheless committed to the funding levels in our original request."

Without the money for the DTV conversion, she argued, the service will be left with "an unfunded federal mandate to convert to digital broadcasting" and compromise its ability to provide "a backbone for a national emergency alert system."

Both those are hot-button issues with legislators, who don't want to be labeled as impeding emergency communications or face angry viewers if there are problems with the digital conversion.

The appropriations bill must now go to the House, while a Senate version is not supposed to get moving until at least next month, according to CPB.

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