USA Today: House to Vote on Bill to Kill NPR Funding

March 17, 2011
In The News

By Catalina Camia

The House on Thursday will debate a bill by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., to take away taxpayer funding of NPR.

The House Rules Committee today set one hour of debate for Lamborn's measure, which would eliminate government support for the public radio network but allow stations to use federal money for administrative purposes.

"Taxpayers should not be on the hook for something that is widely available in the private market," Lamborn said.

Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York, the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, blasted Lamborn and the GOP for trying to push the measure through Congress without hearings.

"NPR plays a valuable role in providing millions of Americans with in-depth reporting and is often the only source of reliable news in rural parts of the country," she said. "It is under attack in the name of fiscal responsibility."

Lamborn told USA TODAY's Martha T. Moore that he believes the legislation will pass the GOP-controlled House.

The House-passed bill to fund the government through April 8 would eliminate some funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but Lamborn's measure takes aim specifically at those funds for NPR.

Funding for NPR has been under more scrutiny since a secretly taped video surfaced last week of then-network fundraising executive Ron Schiller. In the 11-minute clip, Schiller is heard disparaging the Tea Party movement and conservatives and saying NPR would be better off without government funding.

Vivian Schiller, no relation to the fundraiser, resigned from her post as NPR's CEO and president in the wake of the video scandal.

The latest push in Congress to defund NPR comes amid questions about the editing of the video that led to last week's shakeup. The Blaze, a website tied to conservative commentator Glenn Beck, analyzed the raw video and found several of Schiller's statements were edited to be misleading.

Lamborntold USA TODAY that the video sting isn't what will push his bill over the top in the House.

"It may have influenced the timing, but that doesn't affect the resolution of the overall issue: should something continue to be funded that doesn't need to be," he said.

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