As if National Public Radio weren’t having a bad enough month already, what with James O'Keefe's controversial gotcha video and the resignation of CEO Vivian Schiller, a bill to kill NPR’s federal funding is scheduled for a vote in the House Rules Committee Wednesday afternoon.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., who has been trying to defund public broadcasting since last year. In the Senate, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., introduced a companion bill.
Despite all the furor over NPR and public broadcasting, the bill isn’t likely to succeed. It will likely pass the Republican-controlled House but would then be headed for certain death, whether at the hands of Senate Democrats or President Obama. At least one Republican senator has thrown his support behind the Democratic majority. Last Friday, during an interview with Atlanta Public Broadcasting, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., spoke out in favor of NPR.
"An awful lot of conservatives listen to NPR. It provides a valuable service. Should we maybe think about a reduction in that? Again, I think the sacrifice is going to have to be shared by NPR as well as others. But I think total elimination of funding is probably not the wisest thing to do," Chambliss said.
Still, advocates for public broadcasting are leaving nothing to chance. A group of organizations—including MoveOn.org, CREDO Action, NABET, AFTRA and Free Press Action Fund—joined Reps. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., for a rally on Capitol Hill Tuesday in which they delivered 1 million letters to Congress.