One week after conservative activist James O'Keefe hammered National Public Radio (NPR) in an undercover video "investigation," the U.S. House of Representatives voted 228-192 Thursday to strip the media organization of its federal funding.
NPR's VP of Policy and Representation, Rob Hendin, condemned the move as a GOP attack meant to "disrupt" and "dismantle" public radio:
Seven Republicans joined the entire Democratic Caucus in opposing the measure that would bar federal funding of NPR and prohibit local public stations from using federal funds to pay NPR dues and buy its programs. Republican supporters argued that the bill made good fiscal sense while Democratic opponents called it an ideological attack on the largely liberal radio program.
The measure is not expected to pass through the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The AP adds:
Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., displayed a blow-up photo of the two brothers who host the car advice show "Car Talk" with the caption, referring to their nicknames, reading "Save Click and Clack."
The White House said it "strongly opposed" the bill and voiced similar objections, saying "undercutting funding for these radio stations, notably ones in rural areas where such outlets are already scarce, would result in communities losing valuable programming, and some stations could be forced to shut down altogether."
The move to curtail federal subsidies for NPR follows a House vote last month, as part of the GOP plan to cut federal spending for the remainder of this budget year, to take back some $86 million budgeted for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the parent organization of NPR. That proposal, which also faces opposition in the Senate, does not provide for $430 million in future spending for CPB.
Thursday's bill would ban federal funding of NPR, which was about $5 million in fiscal year 2010. It would bar public radio stations from using their federal grant money to pay dues to NPR. That total was about $2.8 million in fiscal 2010.
Before the vote, conservative Rep. Ron Paul criticized Republicans for not going farther in demanding federal fiscal restraint and argued defunding NPR did nothing to help solve America's debt crisis: