WASHINGTON—As he has done in each of his budget proposals, President Donald Trump is once again proposing to cut, and eventually eliminate, federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In his administration’s official proposal for Fiscal Year 2020, CPB’s federal fundings would be cut to $30 million for 2020 and 2021, a drop from the $465 million provided to the organization in 2019.
“CPB grants represent a small share of the total funding for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), which primarily rely on private donations to fund their operations,” the proposal argues. “This private fundraising has proven durable, negating the need for continued Federal subsidies.”
“In addition,” the proposal continues, “alternatives to PBS and NPR programming have grown substantially since CPB was first established in 1967, greatly reducing the need for publicly funded programming options.”
President Trump had previously proposed to cut funding for CPB in his previous budgets, but Congress eventually passed appropriation bills that provided full funding to the organization.
“Federal funding is the foundation of the uniquely American, public-private partnership of the public media system,” reads a statement from Patricia de Stacy Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “The support of Congress, combined with private funding, enables locally owned and operated public media stations to promote early learning, prepare young people for job opportunities, provide critical emergency alert services in partnership with public safety officials and tell authentic stories in ways that enhance our civil society.
“There is no viable alternative to the federal investment to accomplish the mission that Congress assigned to public media and that the American people overwhelmingly support. Without the federal investment, the entire public media system and the unique services and value provided to rural, small town and urban communities would be devastated.”
“American Public Television Stations are disappointed that President Trump’s FY 2020 budget proposal once again recommends elimination of federal funding for public media,” Patrick Butler, APTS president and CEO, wrote in a statement.
“We are grateful that Congress approved full funding for public broadcasting in FY 2019, and we are hopeful that Congress will increase funding for public media in the FY 2020 appropriations cycle and beyond,” Butler added.
“We live in hope that the administration will ultimately appreciate that federal funding is essential to local public television stations’ ability to pursue their critical public service missions of education, public safety and civic leadership, and to provide these services to everyone, everywhere every day, for free.”