I have been sitting around at home helping to take care of my new baby, which means I have been listening to NPR and Classical WETA all weekend – day and night. This weekend I have been hearing occasional messages saying the House of Representatives is going to vote on a Continuing Resolution that could completely cut all government funding for public broadcasting. Being an avid listening of these stations and a person who enjoys the quality of the programming on PBS, I decided to hit Google to learn more.
Here’s what I found.
Last Friday, Republicans in the House introduced a new bill that would cut around $60 billion of government spending (or $100 billion depending on who you ask). Apparently the bill needs to be passed by March 4 to take effect and no formal appropriations bill has been signed so far, so this would take the form of a “continuing resolution” (provides funding for existing federal programs at current or reduced levels – thank you, Wikipedia).
Here’s the federal government’s fiscal year calendar for 2011 (for the curious) – if passed, this bill would be in effect from March to October (to the end of FY 2011):
- 1st Quarter: October 1, 2010 – December 31, 2010
- 2nd Quarter: January 1, 2011 – March 31, 2011
- 3rd Quarter: April 1, 2011 – June 30, 2011
- 4th Quarter: July 1, 2011 – September 30, 2011
I’m fine with cutting spending – it desperately needs to be done with our looming $14 trillion deficit, but the problem for me is that this bill would cut ALL spending on public broadcasting. According to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), about 14% of their funding comes from federal spending – but they say this money is used primarily to help garner additional funds from local sources. The message on the radio states that losing this money would jeopardize the future of all public broadcasting.
(Here’s a concise list of things being cut – notice how many times you see the word “education” or something related to that……..)
This bill also RAISES defense spending by an estimated $9.6 billion (“while the defense budget is down $13 billion from the 2011 budget request, it’s still up $9.6 billion from the 2010 baseline.”). If anything in our budget needs to be drastically reduced, it’s our astronomical defense spending. I’m of the opinion that when a nation spends even a dollar more on the military than it does on education it is pissing all over its future.
So what’s in the bill?
Continuing House Resolution (H.R. 1) is the single largest cut in discretionary spending ever put forth in Congress with an estimated $100 billion in cuts. Hal Rogers, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, had the following to say:
“This year, our nation is spending 1.5 trillion dollars more than we have, running our debt to $14 trillion. The taxpayers have told us loud and clear that this is simply unacceptable, and have demanded that we get our nation’s fiscal house in order. This CR responds to this call. The legislation includes the largest reduction in discretionary spending in the history of our nation – over five times larger than any other discretionary cut package ever considered by the House.”
I’m the type of person who prefers to actually read the full text of something like this rather than relying on our shitty media to explain it to me using their bias. So – here’s the full text of the bill as a PDF:
The part I care about reads as follows:
“Sec. 1838. (a) Of the funds made available for “Corporation for Public Broadcasting” in title IV of division F of Public Law 111-8, the unobligated balance is rescinded. (b) The amounts included under the heading “Corporation for Public Broadcasting” in division D of Public Law 111-117 shall be applied to funds appropriated by this division as follows: by substituting “$0” for “$86,000,000”; by substituting “$0” for “$25,000,000”; by substituting “$0” for “$36,000,000”; and by substituting “$0” for “$25,000,000”.”
Well, Mr. Rogers of Kentucky, your bill can be vastly improved by substituting “Worthless Pile of Shit” for “Full-Year Continuing 24 Appropriations Act, 2011”.
I have already written to my congressional representatives about this; if you care about public broadcasting I hope you will, too.