Congressman Calls Public Radio "Non-Essential"
December 10, 2010

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) has penned a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), asking for an audit of funds for National Public Radio (NPR) and the Corporation For Public Broadcasting (CPB). Lamborn wrote, "In the era of trillion dollar annual deficits, we obviously must cut our federal spending. We no longer have the luxury of funding non-essential services, if we ever did. As we move forward with tough spending cuts, it is critical that we have the most accurate picture of government spending to ensure the cuts are made responsibly."

Lamborn adds that he finds it "imperative that an accurate and complete snapshot of CPB’s use of taxpayer funding be available to lawmakers and the public." He also asks for a specific breakdown on funds going to NPR, including those that go to NPR vs. local affiliates, how these funds flow through NPR and CPB to their affiliates and how federal funding is used beyond the development of content.

Lamborn has proposed a bill, H.R. 6417, prohibiting federal dollars from going to NPR through congressional appropriations and any of the various federal grants NPR now accesses. Lamborn claims that with the funding NPR stations receive from corporation, members and sponsorships, " eliminating taxpayer support should not materially affect NPR’s ability to operate. It will, however, save taxpayers many millions of dollars each year."

The Colorado Springs Gazette notes that Lamborn had proposed a pair of bills to deny NPR and CPB funding in November, but they were both defeated by House Democrats. The paper reports that Lamborn may try to re-introduce the legislation again in January.

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