WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Committee voted today to cut $100 million of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s (CPB) television and radio programming.

“The decision by Republicans to slash $100 million from the budget for public broadcasting taps into a vein ideological extremism that threatens to maim a treasured institution,” said Rep. Markey. “In a world of fast-and-furious television with ratings-driven content, the public broadcasting system represents the last stronghold of quality, child-oriented programming. Does the Republican Party really want to give Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Harry the Big Red Dog the axe?”

The proposal to cut funding, authored by Ohio Republican Representative Ralph Regula, will effectively eliminate $100 million of federal funding that is the lifeblood of the CPB. The Association of Public Television Stations has stated that the cuts are "so drastic that they will severely impact every public television and radio station’s ability to provide educational, cultural and informational programming in local communities and throughout the nation."

CPB is the US-tax payer funded agency that provides critical dollars to public media across the country. According to the non-partisan Roper polling firm, Americans consider the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) the nation’s “most trusted” among nationally-known organizations. They also believe that PBS is the second “most valuable” service taxpayers receive, outranked only by national defense. The same poll also found that a majority of Americans believes the system receives too little funding.

"PBS is a national treasure," Rep. Markey said. "For millions of parents, public broadcasting represents a children's TV network of unparalleled excellence and value. At a cost of just over $1 per year per person what parents and kids get from free over-the-air public TV and public radio is an incredible bargain. To me, the question is not, ‘Can we afford it?,’ but rather, ‘Can we afford to lose it?’” Markey added.

Rep. Markey concluded, "I intend to vigorously fight these unwise and drastic cuts in public broadcasting."

Rep. Markey will be holding an event, Tuesday, June 28, with the Peggy Charren, Founder of Action for Children’s Television, PTA and Children NOW rally support for his amendment to protect the public radio and television from a Republican plan to slash $100 million of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s (CPB).

June 17, 2005

 CONTACT: Tara McGuinness
David Moulton