US & World

Vote to defund NPR survives first test vote

NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
NCinDC/Flickr (cc by_nc_nd)

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The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on a resolution that would prohibit stations from using federal funds to purchase programming from National Public Radio. That resolution survived a first vote.

They call it a rules vote. It’s a procedural vote, but often gives an indication of how the actual vote will go. It passed 236 to 181.

Up next is a debate over HR 1076 itself. The resolution would forbid stations from using federal funds to buy NPR and other public radio programming – like "Morning Edition" and "Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me." It would not prohibit stations from hiring their own reporters or using federal dollars to pay for local talk shows.

So far, debate over the issue has broken down along party lines, with Republicans bringing up the videotaped sting where a former NPR employee said the network could survive without federal funding.

LA Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman calls the bill a “mean ideological assault on public radio.”
"This bill does not save a cent," he says. "It simply says that any grantee of funds from the federal government to public stations can’t use that money to buy programs from NPR. It’s a dramatic interference with the ability of the American people to get the content they can’t get anywhere else except public television and public radio."

Congressman Doug Lamborn sponsored the resolution. The Colorado Republican says the point is whether programs that can be funded privately should receive taxpayer funding.