Thursday, March 30, 2017

CPB President Defends Budget Request

Corporation For Public Broadcasting President Pat Harrison defended the corporation’s 2020 budget request before a House subcommittee this week, answering several pointed questions from the panel that oversees public broadcasting’s federal outlay.

According to, the appearance was Harrison’s first before the subcommittee in 10 years as CPB’s future federal appropriations, including $445 million for fiscal year 2020, appear to be in the budget-cutting bullseye. President Trump indicated in his recent initial budget proposal that he plans to defund the corporation.

In a generally friendly two-hour session, Harrison defended CPB’s level funding request for FY20 as well as FY2018 requests of $30 million for the Ready To Learn early literacy initiative and $55 million for public broadcasting’s interconnection upgrade. She also explained to the 13-member Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee why zeroing out CPB would essentially end public media and stressed the services stations provide to communities nationwide.

Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a longtime public broadcasting champion, asked Harrison what she’d do if CPB’s appropriation were doubled.

Harrison said her wish list would include expanding American Graduate, launching a 24/7 history channel for local content, increasing funding for the Ready To Learn early literacy initiative, bolstering work focusing on veterans and programming from the National Minority Consortia, funding more international reporting for NPR and creating a leadership channel “for kids to learn about courage, commitment, perseverance and grit.”

“I’d be happy to make a real presentation,” Harrison said.

Trump is expected to release his full budget later this spring. It will then go to the House and Senate for their changes and approval.

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