Senate panel votes to back Big Bird

Riding to the rescue of Big Bird, the Senate Appropriations Committee on March 24 voted to retain funding for the Corp. for Public Broadcasting over the next two years at the 1995 level of $286.4 million.

The vote from a panel chaired by liberal Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) represented a rebuke to the House of Representatives, which previously slashed $47 million from CPB’s 1996 budget, and $94 million from 1997.

PBS president Ervin Duggan called the Senate panel’s vote a “clear indicator that the Congress is listening carefully to the American people, who overwhelmingly support federal funding of public broadcasting.”

If the full Senate adopts the committee proposal, a House-Senate conference committee will be formed to decide the fate of public TV and radio funding.

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