Friday, April 8, 2011

Responses from Senators Cantwell & Murray on my email regarding Republican attempt to defund NPR

Dear Dr. Badalamente,

Thank you for contacting me about funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue, and I regret the delayed response.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) was created by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 as a private, non-profit corporation with a mission to promote non-commercial radio and television broadcasting for instructional, educational, and cultural purposes. Subsequently, CPB offerings have been expanded to include online services. CPB was created as an independent corporation rather than a federal agency to ensure that grant recipients could be free from editorial interference by the government that might come from direct federal funding. 

The CPB is the largest single source of funding for public television and radio programming. Most CPB-funded television programs are distributed through the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and most CPB-funded radio programs are distributed primarily through National Public Radio (NPR), American Public Media, and Public Radio International. While each NPR and PBS station receives some funding from the CPB, the majority of each station's funding comes from direct private donations. 

Congress historically funds CPB two years in advance. That is, CPB funding for fiscal year 2010 was included in the fiscal year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill. Advance funding allows stations to plan programming and find additional sponsors. For fiscal years 2011, and 2012, Congress has appropriated $430 million and $450 million, respectively. The President's annual budget request included $450 million for CPB for fiscal years 2013 and 2014.  Recently, the House of Representatives proposed budget cuts tomany federal programs, including funding for public broadcasting.  The House's proposal, H.R. 1, would rescind any unobligated funds for CPB from fiscal year 2010, as well as an $86 million cut in fiscal year 2011 funding that covers assistance for stabilization grants (for stations that see non-federal revenues decline), digital programming production, and public radio interconnection upgrade or replacement.

Public broadcasting is an invaluable resource to Washingtonians like you and me.  Please be assured that as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees the CPB I will keep working with my colleagues in the Senate to make sure the CPB receives the federal funding it needs to continue supporting high quality public television and radio broadcasting and will also continue working to ensure that the governance of public broadcasting remains nonpartisan.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

Dear Dr. Badalamente:
Thank you for contacting me in support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and local public radio and television. I share your support for this important programming and appreciate your taking the time to express your views. 
CPB provides a unique service that is highly valued by communities throughout the country. As an alternative to commercial network television and radio, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) offer a diverse range of educational and family-oriented shows for children that millions of Americans enjoy every day. 
I recognize the important contribution of CPB and have worked to increase its funding. In 2009, President Obama signed H.R. 1105, the Omnibus Appropriations Act, which included $430 million for CPB.  As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I supported this increase in funding and will continue to support funding for the CPB in order to keep this important service intact. 
Thank you again for contacting me, and please know that as Congress addresses public broadcasting in the 112th Congress, I will keep your views in mind. 
If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my weekly updates at Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
Patty Murray
United States Senator

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