Ahead of a vote on a bill blocking funding to NPR set to take place this afternoon, the White House issued a statement condemning efforts to cut the public broadcaster off from federal dollars.
The House Rules Committee voted yesterday in an emergency hearing to send H.R. 1076, which prohibits the government from supporting NPR programming or that of local affiliates, to the floor. The bill would not reduce the deficit as the funds could be used for administrative costs by local stations instead and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but the White House warns that small rural stations could shut down without federal funding to purchase content. Republicans previously voted to defund the entire Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports NPR, but that bill was rejected in the Senate.
You can read the White House statement after the jump.
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 1076, which would unacceptably prohibit Federal funding of National Public Radio (NPR) and the use of Federal funds by public radio stations to acquire radio content. As part of the President’s commitment to cut spending, the President’s Budget proposed targeted reductions in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which provides a small amount of funding for NPR, and the Administration has expressed openness to other spending reductions that are reasonable. However, CPB serves an important public purpose in supporting public radio, television, and related online and mobile services. The vast majority of CPB’s funding for public radio goes to more than 700 stations across the country, many of them local stations serving communities that rely on them for access to news and public safety information. 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.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.