This was a vote on final passage of legislation eliminating all federal funding for National Public Radio (NPR). Republicans had long viewed NPR--which received federal funding through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—as harboring a liberal bias. After Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives following the 2010 midterm elections, they drafted legislation to cut off all federal funds for the organization.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) urged support for the bill: “In these challenging economic times, committing the taxpayer to fund and support particular content, including content he or she may never listen to, highlights this absurd anachronism of the past. It is time to move forward and to let National Public Radio spread its wings and support itself. This legislation…prohibits the direct Federal funding of National Public Radio; and more importantly, it ensures that American taxpayers will not be funding through their tax dollars radio programming from NPR or other outlets with which they may not agree.”
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) also supported the bill: “I'm a strong believer in the free market. I'd like to see NPR rework its business model and begin to compete for all of its income. NPR already receives a huge amount of funding from private individuals and organizations through donations and sponsorships. NPR can and should be entirely supported with private sources.”
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) urged opposition to the bill: “This bill will cripple National Public Radio, public radio stations, and programming that is vital to over 27 million Americans. We are now voting to deny the public access to one of our nation's most credible sources of news coverage…. There is no reason for this bill. It is vindictive, it is mean-spirited, it is going to hit the smallest stations in rural areas particularly hard. Public radio is indispensable for access to news that's hard to get, especially where broadband service is limited.”
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) also opposed the measure: “Those who listen to Wisconsin Public Radio know how much there is to love. Wisconsin Public Radio provides over 9 hours each weekday of interactive radio programming, engaging Wisconsin residents and experts from around the world in public policy, culture, arts, and educational discussions. And because Wisconsin is largely a rural state, our citizens rely on over-the-air broadcasting more than almost any other state. This means that Wisconsin audiences significantly rely on public radio.”
The House passed this bill by a vote of 228-192. Voting “yea” were 228 Republicans. All 185 Democrats and 7 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House passed legislation eliminating all federal funding for National Public Radio.