WASHINGTON- Well, they did it. After threatening for decades, majority House Republicans today passed legislation to deny funds to National Public Radio (NPR). Convening an emergency committee Wednesday to take advantage of a controversy generated by an ambush interview in which NPR’s Ron Schiller accused the Tea Party of racism, and the subsequent resignation of Vivian Schiller (no relation), NPR’s CEO and president, House Republicans hastily drafted HB 1076, which passed through committee Wednesday evening and was brought to the House floor today, where it was approved by a 228 to 192 vote.
Majority leader Eric Cantor dodged truth about why the right is so bent on trying to make public broadcasting fail, saying HB 1076 is based on fiscal responsibility. “It’s called tightening the belt,” said Cantor, (completely ignoring the fact that the defense department likely spends more each year on office supplies). Cantor then regurgitated a completely innocuous, unquantifiable cliche: “It’s time to reflect the common sense of the American people,” culminating in a wry, self-satisfied smirk. He refused further comment, explaining that he had used all the cliches he’d prepared but promised more by the next statement.
The bill prohibits NPR from using federal funds to pay for NPR-produced programs or to pay member dues, a move that according to the right will save up to $60 million a year. Democrats disagree on both the motivation behind the bill and estimated savings and predict the bill will likely die in the dem-controlled Senate.