New Congress to Reconsider Defunding NPR
Part of Larger Push to Reduce Government Spending
Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) this week reintroduced two bills to ensure that taxpayer dollars no longer subsidize National Public Radio. H.R. 68 would end all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the parent organization of National Public Radio (NPR), after fiscal year 2013. H.R. 69 is more narrowly focused on NPR and would end all federal funding for that news organization after fiscal year 2013.
“Congressional Republicans must show the American people that we are serious about cutting spending and reducing the size and scope of the federal government. We simply cannot afford to subsidize NPR, or any other organization that is not doing an essential government service. The government must learn to live within its means.
“While I like much of NPR’s programming, the fact is, it is luxury we cannot afford to subsidize. This effort to cut government spending should be part of the larger push from this new Republican Congress to cut spending and get our nation’s fiscal house in order.”– Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
This year, American taxpayers will subsidize the CPB to the tune of over $430 million. Congress has appropriated funding beyond the rate of inflation for the CPB. Over the past decade, funding for public broadcasting has risen over 26 percent.
Federal funding for CPB is unnecessary. The intent of federally-funded public broadcasting in the Public Broadcasting Act was to make “telecommunications services available to all citizens of the United States” (47 U.S.C. 396). Today, over 99 percent of Americans own a TV and over 95 percent have access to the Internet. Government-funded broadcasting is now completely unnecessary in a world of 500-channel cable TV and cell phone internet access.
NPR claims that less than 2 percent of its total annual budget comes from the federal government. But when the indirect revenues NPR receives in licensing fees from the federally-funded local stations are included, that number jumps to an estimated 20 percent.
NPR receives a significant amount of funding from private individuals and organizations through donations and sponsorships. For example, last October liberal activist billionaire George Soros pledged $1.8 million to NPR. NPR officials have claimed that taxpayer funding makes up only a small portion of their overall budget. Therefore eliminating taxpayer support should not materially affect NPR’s ability to operate. It will, however, save taxpayers millions of dollars each year.