CPB cuts approved

Budget cuts for 2006, funding restored for 2008

WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee is poised to pass a spending bill that includes a proposal to cut the operating budget of the Corp. for Public Broadcasting by 25% in fiscal year 2006. But the committee has agreed to restore full funding of CPB by 2008.

On Thursday afternoon, Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), ranking member on the committee, offered an amendment to the spending bill to restore full funding to CPB in fiscal year 2008. The committee accepted it but late Thursday had yet to vote on the bill.

Public broadcasting “is the most valuable resource we have for getting high-quality programming for children,” Obey said.

Democrats and public broadcasting advocates charged that the CPB budget cut — from $400 million to $300 million — was a partisan attack on Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio, both of which the congressionally chartered CPB helps to underwrite. House Republicans claimed they were only doing the difficult job of spreading cuts around evenly to help reduce the federal deficit.

Spending bill now heads for a full House floor vote, possibly as early as next week. But even if the full House passes the bill, public broadcasters stand a very good chance of seeing the 2006 funding restored when the Senate takes up its version of the bill. Several prominent senators in both parties support public broadcasting and have reversed similar funding cuts in the past.

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