House Proposes CPB Cuts In Latest CR

Appropriations committee points out president also proposed them; Noncom fans prep Hill rally
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The House Appropriations
Committee has offered up another stop-gap continuing resolution (CR) spending
bill, this time including cuts to public broadcasting among the $6 billion in cuts,
though Republican leaders say they are public broadcasting cuts the President
has already proposed himself.

Elsewhere on the
noncom funding front, fans of CPB plan to present one million petitions
defending the service.

According to the
legislation, which would keep funding the government past the current March 18
expiration of the previous two-week continuing resolution, it would make cuts
outside the basic appropriation for Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which
the President has proposed maintaining and even increasing.

Like the current CR, the
latest does not include blocking funding for the FCC's network neutrality
rules, or for the salary of its chief diversity officer, or zeroing out
all CPB funding, as did the six-month CR passed in the House several weeks
ago but defeated by the Senate last week.

It would terminate 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.

It also would also end
funding of facilities projects that have been completed, said the Republicans.
One, a radio interconnection project the committee points out was completed last
year.

The other is $19 million
for the government-mandated conversions of public TV stations to digital
broadcasting "and other mandated conversion efforts [that] are now
completed and the funds no longer necessary," said the committee.

The long-term goal of
many Republicans is to cut or zero out CPB's principal funding entirely,
which has drawn pushback from some Democrats and various public interest
groups.

MoveOn.org, Free Press
Action Fund, and others will hold a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday
(March 15) to present what they say is a million petitions opposing the budget cuts.

"CPB did not request funds for the Fiscal Stabilization Fund or the Radio Interconnection project for FY2011," said a spokesperson.

But it has trouble with the other cut. "[T]he Public Telecommunications Facilities Program was also slated to be cut in this latest CR.  PTFP provides essential funding that helps stations perform maintenance and upgrades to the public broadcasting system infrastructure. Eliminating this funding will only increase the impact to station budgets, as well as possibly CPB's."

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