House Republicans vote to eliminate federal funding for NPR, Dems fight back
March 17th, 2011
03:27 PM ET
12 years ago

House Republicans vote to eliminate federal funding for NPR, Dems fight back

Washington (CNN) – In a mostly party line vote, Republicans voted 228 to 192, to strip National Public Radio of all federal funding.

The standalone measure, introduced Tuesday by Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, bars any of NPR's affiliate radio stations across the country from using any federal funds to purchase any programming from NPR. The vote is a victory for Lamborn, who tried unsuccessfully to strip federal funding for NPR last year.

According to NPR's website, it provides content to 900 independent stations, reaching 27.2 million listeners every week.

An analysis done by the House Democratic minority reported some 414 stations which provide 7,800 jobs in 280 congressional districts would be affected should the cuts go through.
Seven Republicans did vote against the measure, and one member voted present.

Democrats tried unsuccessfully to get a majority of House members to oppose the measure, and at least one member used parliamentary inquiries to try to stall a vote. Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, New York, jumped on Republicans for allegedly breaking their own rules during debate on the measure.

First, he objected to consideration of the bill saying it violated a Republican-imposed House rule, "which requires 72 hour layover of the bill and it to be electronically noticed in order for it to be considered by the House." He then held up a sign with a quote from House Speaker John Boehner and read aloud, "I will not bring a bill to the floor that hasn't been posted online for at least 72 hours."

Republican Rep. Ted Poe, Texas, who was sitting in the chair, responded that the rule is not predicated on a number of hours, "but rather on a number of calendar days." He said that since the measure had been electronically available online since Tuesday that would constitute three calendar days, thus not breaking any rules.

When that didn't work, Weiner returned to the floor Thursday afternoon and tried to shame his Republican colleagues into voting against the bill. He mockingly thanked Republicans for calling an, "emergency session," to eliminate funding for popular programs like "Car Talk."

"Crisis averted, ladies and gentlemen," he said. "I'm glad we got the economy back going. I'm so glad we secured our nuclear power plants. So glad Americans are back to work. We discovered a target we can all agree upon. It's these guys. This is the problem. - it's Click and Clack." Weiner had a poster of the show's hosts Tom and Ray Maggliozzi (who refer to themselves as Click and Clack) over his shoulder while speaking.

Cartalk is a weekend entertainment program that offers advice to listeners on things like car repairs, and sometimes personal dilemmas.

Weiner joked, "Now, let's look at the record here. For one, they talk in that Boston accent. "Car Talk." It's car, congressmen. Second, they talk about master cylinders. It's kinky. I am glad my Republican friends are finally getting to the bottom of this."

Weiner then took a final jab at his Republican colleagues saying, he was sure that getting rid of "Car Talk" was in their 2010 campaign promises.

"All of these guys that finally are going to be taken off the public payroll. The Republican party, no one can say they are not in touch. They get it. They understand where the American people are. The American people are not concerned about the economy around the world. They're staring at their radio station saying, 'Get rid of Click and Clack,'" Weiner said.

Filed under: House • NPR
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. tulsa, ok

    yes, you are.

    March 17, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Surely GOPers have more important issues to address than NPR funding? It's not as if GOPers aren't being represent by a whole host of public officials . . . including those within their own taxpayer paid political caucuses within Congress itself? Should we also defund members of Congress whom we don't agree with politically?

    March 17, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. ConservaFascists/F.U.B.A.R.

    Let's call a spade a spade. The GOBP have now been in Congress for 3 months and have not issued one bill that is directed towards creating jobs. And if giving tax breaks to the wealthy is their idea of creating jobs, then we've already proven that's a failed agenda. I di dnot hear one single ConservaFascists campaign on defundin NPR. All I recall is JOBS. The GOBP agenda since be elected back into power is strictly POLITICAL. They do not care about JOBS.

    March 17, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Minnesotan With A Brain

    Face it, NPR is just like Air America, it can’t compete on the open market without a government subsidy.

    March 17, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Captain Awesome: How do you like the fact the number 2 investor at FOX is a member of the Saudi Royal Family? Are you happy knowing the Washington Times is owned by the head of a cult? You think that has no impact on who they cover? The advertisers for them certainly impact content. NPR plucked a lot of people like Juan Williams and Charles Krauthammer from obscurity and gave them a national audience. They have always tried to maintain a balance, and by and large they have succeeded. Its too bad the truth is not always biased in the Right's favor, but thats just the way things go. As for O'Keefe's sting, do you really think he has that much credibility after trying the stunt with the CNN reporter this year, and illegally entering a federal building to try and wiretap a Senate office? He's a arrogant punk kid on a power trip, who delights in destroying people, a right-wing Julian Assange.

    Think a little.

    March 17, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. No tea, coffee only

    Time's ticking. In Nov 2012, they will be sent packing in droves. America has had it with the Taliban known as the GOP. Freedom of speech is only OK if one is GOP in their eyes. Can't wait to see them become the extinct party starting in 2012.
    Once again where are the job creating bills and plans Rethugs?

    March 17, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. stevetall

    I'm all for it, just as soon as we end government support for oil companies, corporate farmers (and subsidies like those supporting Michelle Bachman!), and tax breaks for the wealthy. Come on, people. Fair is fair. No Republican talking about saving money and balancing the budget should be taken seriously until they start TAXING THE RICH! Taxing rich people is what made America great, and will make us great once again. If only our representatives could stop sucking on the corporate campaign money-tits long enough to use their brains and do what's right for all of us! We should outlaw all political contributions from corporations and limit the amount of personal contributions to get the money-grubbers under control.

    March 17, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. A Real American

    Captain Awesome
    "Sweet!!!! Why should the American taxpayer pay for a one sided liberal radio station anyway? If their programming is so good, then they should be able to stand on their own and maybe start making a profit (gasp!). Yes I said it libs. Maybe along with donations, the National People's Radio can start making money from advertising and compete in the markets like all other radio stations."

    I'll make a deal with you, Captain, We'll pull funding for NPR when you agree to end subsidies for the oil and agricultural industries and let them stand on their own in the free market.

    March 17, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Nunya

    Should've been done along time ago. I would rather MY tax dollars go toward gov't operations, than opinion based anti-american rhetoric. That money will be re-approriated towards something of worth.

    March 17, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Mikkyfinn

    If they used the Okeefe video as a reason for it then the Republicans have once again passed a Bill of Attainder and have broken law. They did it when they defunded Acorn, now with NPR. Why don't the Dems stop being such huge pussies and make them involve the DOJ. Then they can get their asses handed to them when Okeefes video, ONCE AGAIN, is shown to be a complete farce.

    March 17, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. John K.

    NPR is fills a niche in radio broadcasting. Where else can you hear:

    A seventeen part series on the mating habits of a duckbilled platypus.

    Male radio commentators who all speak with a lisp.

    A liberal viewpoint thinly disguised as objective reporting.

    March 17, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Tired of the nonsense

    All right! This also means that NO ONE is allowed to watch FOX news because of it's ultra right-wing conservative bias that the nutjobs listen to!

    March 17, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. tulsa, ok

    Four and the door opens it's mouth and stupidity comes out.
    oh, by the way, the good job numbers today are in spite of the Republicans.... name me one piece of legislation the Rep.s have introduced about JOBS. They haven't done diddly about what they ran on. Bait and switch Republican.

    March 17, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Moderate Sean

    The Republicans will de-fund NPR stating we the taxpayer can no longer afford to help public radio due to our budget constraints and issues [To Quote Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado from this article, "With the national debt over $13 trillion, the government simply can't afford to fund non-essential services,…NPR can survive on its own." “We need to remove the taxpayer from the equation."]; however, the Republicans cannot come to grips with the billions and billions of dollars that the US Taxpayer subsidizes the Oil and Gas industries. Where are their respective cuts, thus saving the US taxpayers billions in savings?? This smacks of cronyism and hypocrisy!

    March 17, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    " opinion based anti-american rhetoric"

    Spoke like someone, like most of the imbeciles saying this crap, who truly hasn't listened to one godd-mn second of NPR.

    The only reason CNN and the rest aren't defending NPR on this is because they're already beholden to corporate advertising dollars and it woul dbe anathema for them to support an information institution that isn't. I'd love the see the memos from the ad execs at CNN about how this should all be spun.

    March 17, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Bob Smeltz

    You're all fools! We are out of money! The golden goose is dead. Thank GOD (oh my did he just say God? I hope i offended at least half of you oh yeah MERRY CHRISTMAS Too) Why should people pay money to the government for services they don't use, want or even qualify for? The reason the oil companies keep getting rich is because we keep making the USD weaker and oil goes up. Thank those jackasses in the whitehouse for that. No one wants to loan us money any more. I bet most of you don't even pay taxes (48% Don't). Time for Americans to take responsability for their own actions and pay your own way. If you are unable to work we will help you out, but if you are between 18-55 and healthy enough to work and you are on welfare or food stamps the free ride is over. We don't care if you don't like the jobs that are out there (there are jobs out there.. your president says so... isn't that what the bailouts were for so unemployment didn't go over 8%? another lie from your Pres.) Personally i don't like my job, I haven't drawn a paycheck in months but i still pay my employees on time every week.

    March 17, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Peter E

    You do realize this is just political grandstanding by republicans. They would not have voted for this bill if they thought it would actually pass through the senate. They need to keep federal funds going to NPR because that's the only way they can censore the program. Once federal money stops, NPR can do whatever it wants. Republicans don't actually want that to happen.
    And it says a lot about the so-called 'fiscal conservatives' that they waste days grand-standing on a laughable $40 million instead of using those same days to come up with ACTUAL, SUBSTANTIAL budget cuts. Oh right, the last time they tried that they realized they cannot even come up with $100 billion to cut because most of the rest of discretionary funding goes to their base: corporate subsidies, oil subsidies, tax cuts for the rich, farm subsidies. And of course they wouldn't dare anger seniors by cutting Social Security or Medicare.
    They know they are stuck, and that's why they waste time grand-standing on such small cuts. It's just a delaying tactic because they have no idea how to actually tacle the budget.

    March 17, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    @Nunya: operations like, say, funding James O'Keefe? You forget that many conservatives first gained a anational audence thatks to NPR and PBS. Remember that when you look up William F. Buckley and "Firing Line".

    March 17, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Charles

    I really don't like republicans and all that they stand for

    March 17, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. once upon a horse

    I wonder if many of you that want NPR defunded have even ever listened to it. I bet most of you have NOT and are just going by what you're being told by your right wing brethen. But never fear..if there is any justice in the world this bill will die in the Senate as it well should. Then perhaps O'Keefe can go undercover and spy on a right wing organization and report on it for a change. He claimed in an interview that he WOULD, but I seriously doubt it.

    March 17, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    Moreover, it's noteworthy that despite all the claims of bias from the right wing loony-bin, the evidence of any existing bias was so absent from the public record throughout NPR's history that instead of citing myriad examples of it from particular shows...including fact-based arguments as to why there was actual bias...they had to send in a hatchet man to scam the place in hopes of getting enough film to chop up that he could piece together something that misrepresented NPR wholesale. 11 minute video out of 2 HOURS of tape that, when taken in totality, shows there's nothing biased whatsoever about what was going on....yep, that's a solid foundation...all that is needed in the Congressional record to condemn NPR and undo several decades of beneficial policy.

    And now O'Keefe is trying to ham up that Soros donates to NPR...yeah, for projects like an informative special on issues in central asia or criminal justice....soooooo nefarious. I'm just suprised we haven't seen any of the astroturf alliance blabbering that obviously vapid talking point yet.

    March 17, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Wow! So if my tax dollars go to something I disagree with I can demand government stop funding it? So, when we cut NPR's funding, each person in the US gets what? A little more than a dime back? How about we stop funding our continued presence in Iraq? The majority of the public wants that money back! We would get over a hundred dollars back each, every year!
    But I guess it's more important to cut funding for NPR, a radio that has less than 5% politically-related programs, and actually balances issues. But of course, conservatives were not outraged when NPR also hosted far-right wing Christian pastors who were speaking out against gays or muslims! THAT was okay to air on NPR?

    March 17, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |

    The GOP must think I'm dumb as they look. Where are the jobs?

    **cricket sounds, tumbleweed, and wind**

    March 17, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. Bill

    I thought it was all aboput jobs, jobs, jobs. Since this will never become law, it is irrelevant, but seems to me that if it did, this would result in many people losing their jobs. GOP hipocracy, at best.

    March 17, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
1 2