Public broadcasting gets a budgetary reprieve

Key members of the Senate Appropriations Committee have endorsed overturning proposed cuts in federal spending for upgrading PBS’ technology infrastructure
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Public broadcasting, caught up in a storm of politics over the content of its programs, may be getting a second chance for money needed to convert to digital television. A senior Republican and Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee have endorsed overturning proposed cuts in federal spending.

Last month, the House voted to restore some cuts to the public broadcasting system’s budget when it approved a measure to keep the corporation’s budget at $400 million. But it also rejected proposals to provide an additional $50 million for upgrading public broadcasting’s aging satellite technology and $39 million for converting to digital television.

Sen. Ted Stevens, (R-AK) last week proposed restoring those cuts because, he said, the money was essential to the preservation of the system, particularly in states like Alaska, which have greater difficulty raising private money for public broadcasting. Sen. Daniel Inouye, (D-HI), another senior member, also endorsed restoring the cuts.

Committee members followed, restoring about $100 million at a meeting late last week. Now the House of Representatives must agree.

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