The House approved a $611 billion defense spending bill that includes changes to revive the Voice of America, the broadcast news service that the federal government used to counter Russian propaganda broadcasts during the Cold War.
Legislators included language in the bill to restore the Voice of America and other government media operations to fight Russian messaging, The Washington Examiner reports.
"The United States' response to this onslaught of propaganda has been crippled, in part, by bureaucracy," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce of California said after the vote. "Our agencies that helped take down the Iron Curtain with accurate and timely broadcasting have lost their edge.
"They must be revitalized to effectively carry out their mission in this age of viral terrorism and digital propaganda."
Royce authored the language that was included in the defense bill, according to the report.
It would restructure the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the Voice of America and related services but has faced serious attacks from legislators in recent years.
Established in 1942, the VOA first broadcast war news and commentary in English to commercial American shortwave radio stations in Germany during World War II and later to Russia to counter Soviet propaganda about the United States.
The service was placed under the United States Information Agency during the Cold War — and added television in the 1980s and the Internet in the 1990s.
The Voice of America now broadcasts in 46 languages.
"I am pleased to support this bipartisan legislation that funds our troops and keeps the country safe by providing critical tools to tackle new threats, including the weaponization of information by ISIS and Russia," Royce said of the defense spending bill.
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