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Congress eases 2003 public TV cuts

Congress Wednesday night softened fiscal-year-2003 funding cuts for public television stations by restoring all but $2.4 million in proposed reductions.

Originally, a 2003 appropriations bill would have effectively rescinded as
much as $15 million appropriated to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting two
years ago. Tuesday, Senate and House negotiators working out differences in
their separate bills eased the proposed rescission.

Budget negotiators also appropriated approximately$48.7 million to
help stations pay for the digital conversion.

Next up for public broadcast lobbyists is defeating a White House 2004 budget
that would eliminate Commerce Department grants that have helped public stations
to construct digital facilities.