Dem-Led House Appropriations OKs CPB Funding Boost

The full House Appropriations Committee has proposed to increase funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, approving the recommendation of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, which last month approved a funding boost of $50 million (or about 15%) to $495 million for fiscal year 2022.

CPB is forward funded to try to insulate it from politics, which hasn't actually happened. CPB is the independent agency created by Congress to hand out federal funding for noncommercial media.

The subcommittee also approved full funding of $20 million for interconnection and infrastructure, which the full committee also approved. The subcommittee was mum on funding for the Ready to Learn grant program through the Department of Education, which provides early learning education for low-income children, but the full committee has approved a $2 million-plus increase for RTL to $30 million.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

The funding increase is in contrast to President Donald Trump's attempts to phase out funding, which even the Republican-controlled House rejected in favor of full funding. Democrats are now in control and have upped the pushback to full funding-plus.

Noncoms suggested that the increase is sort of level funding anyway.

“While we appreciate the Congress maintaining stable funding for public broadcasting during the economic and political turmoil of the past decade, the purchasing power of that level funding has been significantly eroded over time, and the increase which the House Appropriations Committee has proposed is desperately needed to help America’s public television stations teach more children, protect more lives and property, and prepare citizens more fully for their indispensable role in guiding the world’s most important democracy,” said Patrick Butler, president of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS).

“We are also grateful that the committee has provided level funding of $20 million in FY 2020 for an annual interconnection and infrastructure account, which is the backbone of the public broadcasting system....And we are especially pleased that the committee has provided $30 million in FY 2020 for Ready to Learn, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports public television’s essential work -- on-air, online and on-the-ground -- in early childhood education."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.