Rothman Gives Shout-Out to Noncoms

Congressman issues statement in support of continued public broadcasting funding
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Rep. Steve
Rothman (D-N.J.) Tuesday gave a shout-out to continued public broadcasting
funding.

"It is critical
that Congress continues to support funding for the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting (CPB), an organization that consistently produces excellent
programming for all age groups on news, current affairs, arts, and science," he
said in a statement on his Web site and e-mailed to B&C. "Defunding CPB will significantly hurt National
Public Radio news stations in less affluent areas because those communities
rely on the vital federal funds set aside for public broadcasting. I'm
committed to making sure that this important service continues."

Rothman
spokesman Aaron Keyak said that no legislative flurry prompted the
statement. "It was nothing immediate," said Keyak. "Republicans
are looking to defund [CPB] and talking about it a lot, so we just wanted to
make Steve's position clear."

But it hasn't just
been Republicans. The co-chairs of the President's National Commission on
Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has recommended zeroing out funding for the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
as one way to help save $200 billion.

The president
has since said he does not agree with all those recommendations, and the
proposal would be unlikely to get through a Democratically controlled Senate
even if the House approved it.

Republicans
have periodically tried, and failed, to reduce or zero out government support
for a service many of them view as a platform for liberals. They have also
tried to remove the forward funding of noncoms, which is meant to insulate the
service from the pull of political tides. Government money only makes
up about 15% of noncom budgets, but public broadcasters have pointed out that
it is an important 15%, particularly given the fall-off in contributions due to
a tanking economy.

NPR has been a
particular bone of contention with the Republicans after conservative commentator
Juan Williams was fired for remarks he made about being nervous seeing
people in Muslim garb at an airport. In the wake of that firing, bills were
reintroduced to phase out funding and some House Republicans asked the
Government Accountability Office to investigate the noncommercial radio
service.

Related

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