House Republicans are holding an emergency meeting of the Rules Committee on Wednesday to take up legislation that would block funding to NPR in the wake of James O’Keefe’s hidden camera prank on the news organization.
The meeting will examine HR 1076, introduced by Republican congressman and NPR-nemesis Doug Lamborn of Colorado, which would bar the government from providing any funding to NPR and its affiliate stations. The House already passed an amendment to its Continuing Resolution funding the government through September that would defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports both NPR and PBS, but the Senate defeated the bill and the latest CR only cuts $50 million in scheduled increases to NPR’s funding that the White House had already cut from its own budget proposal.
According to a spokeswoman for Lamborn, Catherine Mortensen, the new standalone bill would only target NPR. And unlike the CR amendment would have defunded public broadcasting through the 2011 fiscal year, HR 1076 would permanently prohibit all federal funding to NPR and affiliate stations.
Mortensen added that Lamborn “will definitely” seek to include an additional amendment blocking NPR funding through 2011 in any final deal with Senate Democrats on a 2011 continuing resolution.
Republican House leaders have upped their rhetoric against NPR in the wake of the O’Keefe sting. Majority Leader Eric Cantor argued last week that footage of NPR executive Ron Schiller suggesting NPR might be better off without federal funding bolsters their case to defund it. NPR has denounced Schiller’s behavior in the video, and he has since resigned.
A spokesman for the Rules Committee Democrats, Shurid Sen, called the bill “a reactionary response to the O’Keefe video” and said it was being “rushed to the floor” without going through regular committee hearings.
Note :An earlier version identified Sen as a spokesman for Rep. Louise Slaughter, ranking minority member of the Rules Commttee, rather than for the broader Rules Committee Democrats.
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.