President Trump proposed cutting funding for PBS and NPR, but the suggestion faces long odds in Congress.
The 2019 federal budget that the White House unveiled Monday again proposes cutting all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funnels money to NPR and PBS — a potential move that the CPB president quickly slammed.
In a statement, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Patricia Harrison excoriated the proposal, suggesting it might even lead to fatalities.
“Americans place great value on having universal access to public media’s educational and informational programming and services, provided commercial free and free of charge,” Harrison said in a statement Monday.
“Since there is no viable substitute for federal funding that would ensure this valued service continues, the elimination of federal funding to CPB would at first devastate, and then ultimately destroy public media’s ability to provide early childhood content, life-saving emergency alerts, and public affairs programs," the statement continued.
But the idea must win the approval of a skeptical Congress to become reality. Just last year, the White House made a similar proposal to defund the CPB, although Congress effectively ignored the request.
"The Budget proposes to eliminate Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) over a two year period," the 2019 proposal states.
Republicans have long suggested that PBS and NPR, which some politicians and commentators say are left-leaning and partisan, should not receive federal funds.
But the Trump budget, rather than raising the issue of bias, simply asserts that the money is not necessary.
"CPB funding comprises about 15 percent of the total amount spent on public broadcasting, with the remainder coming from non-Federal sources," the propsal says, under a section titled "Justification."
"This private fundraising has proven durable, negating the need for continued Federal subsidies," the proposal continues, adding that NPR and PBS could make up the shortfall by "increasing revenues from corporate sponsors, foundations, and members."