House panel proposes steep public broadcasting cuts

June 12, 2005

A House Appropriations panel last week approved a spending bill that would cut the budget for public television and radio nearly in half and eliminate a $23 million federal program that has provided some money for producing children’s shows such as “Sesame Street” and “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”

By a voice vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee adopted a measure that would reduce the financing of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the organization that directs taxpayer dollars to public television and radio, from $400 million to $300 million, the New York Times reported.

The subcommittee also eliminated $39 million that stations said they needed to convert to digital programming and $50 million to upgrade the aging satellite technology that is the backbone of the PBS network.

The cuts in financing went significantly beyond those requested by the White House and are likely to be approved next week by the full Appropriations Committee and then by the House.

Lobbyists for public television and radio said they hoped to have the money restored in the version of the bill prepared by the Senate. The final legislation will be the product of negotiations between the House and Senate.

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