National Public Radio, which serves a wide area of rural America, came under fire yesterday, during debate of an amendment to H.R. 1076. The amendment would have barred federal funding of NPR and prohibit local public radio stations from using federal money to buy the network's programs. But when all the votes were counted the House voted down the amendment 184 to 235. Before the vote the Administration voiced its strong opposition to House passage of the bill.
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, which provides a small amount of funding for NPR. 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. According to the administration, 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.