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Effort To Block NPR's Public Funding Fails

Nov 18, 2010

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Reported by

Frank James

A legislative effort by House Republicans to prevent NPR from receiving public funding failed Thursday.

By a 239 to 171 vote, the House approved advancing a teleworking bill without the language that would bar local public radio stations from using taxpayer dollars to purchase NPR programming.

The public money at issue was funding to the stations from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Republican move came in response to the controversy over the termination in October of journalist Juan Williams' contract with NPR.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) , the second-ranking official in the House Republican leadership, introduced the legislation as part of the GOP's YouCut initiative in which members of the public recommend cuts in federal spending.

In response to Thursday's vote, Cantor issued a news release. An excerpt:

"Barely two weeks after an historic election, House Democrats demonstrated today that they are still not ready to listen. News organizations are free to do, say and operate on their own terms, but that doesn't mean that taxpayers should be forced to fund them..."

NPR also issued a post-vote news release. An excerpt:

Today, good judgment prevailed as Congress rejected a move to assert government control over the content of news.

The proposal to prohibit public radio stations from using CPB grants to purchase NPR programming is an unwarranted attempt to interject federal authority into local station program decision-making. Furthermore, restrictions on the authority of CPB - a Congressionally chartered, independent non-profit organization - to make competitive grants to NPR, or any other public broadcasting entity, is misguided.

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