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Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Federal Funding and Issues

Glenn J. McLoughlin
Section Research Manager

Mark Gurevitz
Information Research Specialist

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) receives virtually all of its funding through federal appropriations; overall, about 15% of all public television and radio broadcasting funding comes from the federal appropriations that CPB distributes. CPB’s appropriation is allocated through a distribution formula established in its authorizing legislation and has historically received two-year advanced appropriations. Congressional policymakers are increasingly interested in the federal role in supporting CPB due to concerns over the federal debt, the role of the federal government funding for public radio and television, and whether public broadcasting provides a balanced and nuanced approach to covering news of national interest.

It is also important to note that many congressional policymakers defend the federal role of funding public broadcasting. They contend that it provides news and information to large segments of the population that seek to understand complex policy issues in depth, and in particular for children’s television broadcasting, has a significant and positive impact on early learning and education for children.

On December 23, 2011, President Obama signed the final Continuing Resolution (CR) of federal funding for FY2012 into law (H.R. 2055, P.L. 112-74). This bill sustained the advanced appropriations for CPB, but with a recission of 0.189%. The final CPB FY20101 appropriations is $441 million.

On March 15, Representative Lamborn introduced H.R. 1076, To Prohibit Federal Funding of National Public Radio and the Use of Federal Funds to Acquire Radio Content. Among its provisions, the bill would end direct federal funding of NPR Inc. as well as prohibit member stations from using federally appropriated funding to purchase broadcasting content from NPR Inc. The bill, without committee hearings or markup, was considered on the floor of the House of Representatives on March 17, 2011, and passed the same day (228-192). It has been referred to the Senate, where to date no further action has been taken.

Date of Report: February 3, 2012
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