The House, on Tuesday, passed a second, short-term continuing
resolution (CR) that will keep the government funded for the next three weeks
but takes a bite out of noncommercial media.
The bill cuts some funding to noncommercial radio stations
and noncom facilities programs President Obama had proposed cutting as well,
but does not include zeroing out the $430 million in FY11 funding for CPB,
which was part of a lonnger-term CR approved by the House but defeated last
week by the Senate. The Senate will need to vote on the latest CR before
Friday, when the current two-week CR expires.
More than half a hundred Republicans voted against the CR,
some like Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) saying the the stop-gap measure does
not fix the budget problems and the government needs to stop the short-term
approach and address the long-term policy issues and not just the budget issues.
Gone is the Fiscal Stabilization Fund, $50 million that
would have helped make up for losses in public station viewer donations, which have been down in the down economy.
Also cut is the funding of facilities projects that have been
completed, including an interconnection project the committee points out was
completed last year.
CPB had not actually
asked for funding for either the stabilization fund or a facilities
interconnection project going forward. But the other project, the $19 million
Public Telecommunications Facilities Program CPB
has said provides crucial facilities upgrades that it can ill afford to lose
"We are pleased that Members of the House recognize the
valuable services local public radio and television stations provide to their
communities by preserving the FY11 funding for the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting (CPB) ($430 million), and
providing level funding for CPB Digital
($36 million), Ready To Learn ($27.3 million) and RUS
Digital ($4.5 million)," sauid Patrick Butler, president of both
the Association of Public Television Stations and Public Media
"Unfortunately, the House-passed CR eliminates funding
for the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP), which received $20
million in FY10. For over 40 years, PTFP has been the core program for
public broadcasting infrastructure-ensuring local public television and radio
stations are able to provide the highest quality, reliable, universal service
to their communities, including underserved areas and communities devastated by
disasters. We look forward to working with both the House and the Senate to
preserve the critical funding for all public broadcasting programs, including
PTFP, in the final FY11 funding bill, and in FY12."
Separately, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) says the House
could vote as early as Thursday on a stand-alone bill to defund
NPR. Lamborn introduced HR 1076 Tuesday (March 15). It would cut funding
to NPR but allow government funding of noncommercial radio stations.
Lamborn has introduced bills in both Congresses to cut
funding for CPB.