Anticipating a floor vote to eliminate funding for public broadcasting next week, the Association for Public Television Stations today (Feb. 9) called for stations to join the first big push to build political support in the House of Representatives.
The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to debate a Continuing Resolution that would fund the government after the current CR expires next month, and CPB is among many federally-funded entities that could be zeroed out. The bill is expected to come to the floor during the week of Feb. 14. House leaders have said it will be debated under open rules that allow lawmakers to offer amendments targeting specific programs, according to APTS.
But CPB is already included in a list of $35 billion in recommended spending cuts that Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) shared with rank-and-file Republicans today.
APTS is advising stations to "exercise your First Amendment right to use your broadcast resources to marshal your community supporters to advocate for continued federal funding." It also provided detailed talking points for use in communicating the message, particularly to station boards, and a briefing on the do's and don'ts of making on-air appeals for political support.
According to APTS, there are now six bills in Congress to either defund or reduce public broadcasting support:
– H.R. 68, by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit federal funding for CPB after fiscal year 2013;
– H.R. 69, by Lamborn, which separately targets public radio programming funding;
– H.R. 235, the "Cut Unsustainable and Top-Heavy Spending Act of 2011," by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas);
– H.R. 408, Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan's "Spending Reduction Act of 2011";
– S.178, the Senate version of that bill, by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), and
– S. 162, the Cut Federal Spending Act of 2011 by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).