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Fiscal conservatives unveil list of federal budget cuts, including public broadcasting

Republican Congressman John Campbell.
Republican Congressman John Campbell.
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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Republican lawmakers have proposed budget cuts they say could save $2.5 trillion over the next decade. One agency they want to eliminate is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The GOP bill would immediately freeze non-security spending at 2008 levels, then cut the budget back to what it was five years ago.

That means cutting the federal workforce by 15 percent, eliminating grants for high-speed rail projects and ending subsidies for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.

It also would erase all federal dollars for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. NPR and its member stations get a portion of their budgets from that entity.

Republican Congressman John Campbell of Irvine says he listens to NPR as it’s carved out a popular niche for itself on the radio dial. "I think they can and should continue that niche without government subsidy."

The GOP plan eliminates grants for high-speed rail, Amtrak subsidies and funding for beach replenishment. It cuts more than a billion dollars from the U.S. Agency for International Development, but nothing from the Pentagon’s budget.

Congressman Campbell says he personally supports cuts in the military. "I think there’s a lot of waste in the defense budget," he says, "as much on a percentage basis as there is in any other budget."

He says military cuts were not part of the proposal because he's "still in a minority of Republicans who believe that position. There are more and more coming my way every day. And I think there’ll be more and they’ll get there. But that was not part of this package. If I were writing it myself, it would have been."

The congressman says the greatest security threat to the United States is its debt.

Members of the Republican Study Committee, which came up with the spending cuts, dismissed concerns that the tax cut extension Congress approved last month was a mistake. They say the country can’t spur economic growth by taxing those who create jobs.

Any spending cuts would have to be approved by both the House and the Senate.