Jul 18, 2012

House subcom passes Labor HHS bill; Rep. Dicks speaks out against NPR rider

A House panel today (July 18) voted 8-6 to pass to the full Appropriations Committee proposed legislation that would cut $6.3 billion from current spending levels, and includes zeroing out CPB in fiscal 2015. The mainly  party-line vote saw one Republican, Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake, joining Democrats in opposition — but because he wanted even deeper cuts, according to The Hill.

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Washington) spoke out during the packed meeting on Capitol Hill against the 40-some policy riders that had been placed on the bill, which included language banning pubradio stations from using federal funds for NPR dues or programming.

"Now, with certain minor exceptions the only way funds in this bill find their way to NPR is when the Corporation for Public Broadcasting makes grants to local public radio stations and they use some of that money to acquire programs like All Things Considered," Dicks said. "With this rider, we’re just getting into the middle of our local radio stations’ programming decisions — telling them it’s okay to get programs from, say, American Public Media, but not from NPR. What possible basis do we have for making that distinction?"

"We should be trying to find a path for getting our work done and getting bills enacted," Dicks said, "not erecting new obstacles by bringing in all sorts of contentious policy issues that stand little chance with the Senate and none with the White House."

The bill proceeds to the full committee next week. The Senate won't be considering any spending bills before the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. The Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended level funding of $445 million for CPB, with President Obama proposing the same figure in his budget.

No comments: