Tags: npr | funding | house | votes | end | funding

House Votes to End NPR Funding

Thursday, 17 Mar 2011 03:49 PM

The House voted to block all federal funding for NPR, a week after the embattled public radio station found itself the subject of a conservative activist's undercover video recording that led to the ouster of its chief executive, ABC News reported.

The bill passed by a 228-192 vote. No Democrats voted for it but 7 Republicans voted against the measure.

The bill calls for an end to all federal funding to NPR and its affiliates.

It also prohibits stations from using federal funds to pay NPR dues and to purchase programming. It would block NPR from applying for grants provided by federal agencies such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Department of Education, Department of Commerce and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The House GOP continuing resolution that would fund the government for the remainder of the year already rescinds funding for the CPB, which also funds Public Broadcasting Service, and zeroes out millions in funds after that.

The White House today released a statement strongly opposing the bill but did not issue a veto threat.

"Undercutting funding for these radio stations, notably ones in rural areas where such outlets are already scarce, would result in communities losing valuable programming, and some stations could be forced to shut down altogether," the White House said.

On March 1, PBS released a poll it had commissioned from Hart Research and American Viewpoint that showed 69-27 percent opposition to proposals to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting, with voters 83 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents, and 56 percent of Republicans saying they don't want it defunded, according to Fox News.

While the House spent several hours of its afternoon debating the legislation, the Democratic-led Senate is unlikely ever to bring up the measure for a vote.

GOP leaders argue that NPR can survive on its own without federal funding and that at a time of budget concerns, such a cut is necessary.

"The federal addiction for spending has driven us into debt," Rep. Richard Nugent, R-Fla., told ABC News. "We should not use tax dollars for something that can be paid for privately."

NPR executives argue that federal funding is key to their operations, but Republicans have seized on comments made by Schiller, who says in the hidden camera video that NPR and most of its member stations would survive without such funding.

Schiller, then-president of the NPR Foundation and senior vice president for development, was caught on tape calling the Tea Party "xenophobic" and "seriously racist people" who are "fanatically involved in people's personal lives."

He goes on to say that the Republican Party has been hijacked by the Tea Party and laments the demise of intellectualism, particularly in the GOP.

NPR's president and chief executive Vivian Schiller (no relation to Ron Schiller) resigned in the wake of the scandal.

House GOP leaders have for years attempted to cut funding for what many of them see as a liberal-leaning broadcast operation.

House Republicans made a proposal in November to strip federal funding for NPR after the radio station fired controversial commentator Juan Williams for comments he made about Muslims. That bill didn't pass.

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