Public radio newsrooms have filled the gap in many local markets as commercial radio operators have struggled to make the economics of news operations work. But Texas Republican Ronny Jackson says what those stations are airing amounts to “taxpayer-funded fake news” and he has introduced a bill that would prohibit the government from directing financial support to both affiliates of NPR and public television’s Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
The proposed legislation, which has been titled the No Partisan Radio and Partisan Broadcasting Services Act, or the NPR and PBS Act (H.R. 1632) says federal funding could not be used to purchase programming or payment of dues for either one of the national networks.
“When NPR and PBS were established by Congress, it was with the notion that their content would remain unbiased and benefit every American, however, it is obvious that NPR and PBS have abandoned their founding principles,” Jackson said. “For decades, radical Democrats have siphoned hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to NPR and PBS under the guise of ‘serving the public’ despite sharing all the same propaganda of any other radical-left corporate news outlet. Taxpayers should not be forced to support biased media like NPR and PBS against their will.”
Jackson’s bill currently has no co-sponsors. It also does not have a companion bill in the Senate. It will likely also face an uphill battle if prior attempts to cut-off public radio and television funding are any indication.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) has introduced a similar bill during the past several sessions of Congress, most recently in 2021 and in 2019. But his efforts have come up short as supporters of federal funding for public radio and television say an open secret in Washington is that members of both parties have no desire to cut their allocation – and many Republicans even quietly support it even as some members of their parties push to eliminate it from the federal budget.
But despite the talk about cutting federal funding, CPB funding has remained in the budget. President Biden’s latest budget proposal released this month includes more money for public media. The latest budget proposal includes $575 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the 2026 fiscal year. That is $40 million more than what was included in the 2025 budget. Unlike most of what Congress spends, the CPB budget has a long lead time to allow broadcasters to plan their programming, based on the amount of money they will have.
If approved, CPB’s latest advance appropriation would include $60 million for the public broadcasting interconnection system and infrastructure in the 2024 fiscal year. The system disseminates content across the public media system, including public safety and alerting messages.