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Noncoms Celebrate Bipartisan Hill Funding Support

Public Broadcasters are celebrating the full funding of public broadcasting in the finalized (FY) 2018 budget, as well as the extra billion dollars Congress has allocated for the post-incentive auction repack as part of that omnibus spending legislation.

“America's Public Television Stations are delighted that Congress has approved legislation providing full funding of $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in Fiscal Year 2020, $20 million in FY 2018 for an annual interconnection and infrastructure account, and $27.7 million in FY 2018 for the Ready To Learn program, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports public television's essential work – on the air, on-line and on the ground – in early childhood education," said Patrick Butler, president of America's Public Television Stations.

“We are also most grateful for the $1 billion in additional funding that both public and commercial broadcasters need to complete the post-spectrum auction channel repacking on the schedule established by the Federal Communications Commission," he said."

The FCC has already said the $1.75 billion repack fund won't be enough, and noncoms are in less of a position to shoulder the costs.

Related: Butler APTS' Butler Says Noncom Funding Secured.

The bipartisan public support for noncommercial media is in contrast to past Republican efforts to zero out funding, and to President Donald Trump's own more recent effort to do so, which have been greeted by Republican defenses of public media.

“The broad support for public media funding among both Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate reflects the overwhelming support the American people have consistently given to our service," Butler said.

The omnibus passed the House and Senate late Friday by solid bipartisan margins (65 to 32 in the senate, 256 to 167 in the House), though President Trump threatened to veto it in a Tweet over the failure to fully fund the border wall--it did get some funding--and immigration, before he finally signed it midday Friday, avoiding another government shutdown by midnight.

The President had Tweeted early Friday: