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Markey: Cheney Gunning for Big Bird

Rep Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is not foreclosing mounting a similar protest to the one last year in response to proposed budget cuts in federal funds for noncommercial radio and TV stations.

"Certainly, [we] will keep the options open," said a top staffer.

In the wake of the House Appropriations Committee proposal to slash $104.5 million from the CPB budget, including zerioing out Ready to Learn Funding and cutting DTV transition money, Markey shot back: "The decision by Republicans to slash $115 million from the budget for public broadcasting is a body blow to a treasured institution," he said. It seems that Dick Cheney and the House GOP have the hunting party out for Big Bird and Clifford the Big Red Dog and the vast majority of Americans won't stand for it."

Those were the same programs the same committee tried to cut last June, launching a storm of protest.

Markey, along with New York Democratic Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and many others, gathered on the Steps of the Cannon House Office Building last June, surrounded by boxes of petitions from viewers concerned about the cuts, and by costumed PBS characters including a big, red Clifford.