Trump Budget Completely Eliminates Public Broadcasting

Screengrab/Sesame Street HD/YouTube

When Trump proposed phasing out funding for public broadcasting last year, Congress did not bite on the opportunity.

Back in the cross hairs with President Donald Trump's latest budget proposal is public broadcasting, a potential cutback that found little support among Democrats or Republicans when broached by the administration last year.

Patricia Harrison, a former top Republican party official and now CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, was not pleased with the President's just-released FY 2019 budget and its cutting of all but $15 million for public media in 2019 and 2020 (public media are forward funded in an attempt to insulate them from politics). The allocation has been $445 million per year.

CPB distributes the approximately 15% of noncommercial TV and radio budgets supported by government funds. Harrison argued passionately for the service last time around.

[Read Harrison's full statement below.]

Not only does public broadcasting enjoy bipartisan support, but the majority of Americans are supportive as well.

“Americans place great value on having universal access to public media’s educational and informational programming and services, provided commercial free and free of charge. Since there is no viable substitute for federal funding that would ensure this valued service continues, the elimination of federal funding to CPB would at first devastate, and then ultimately destroy public media’s ability to provide early childhood content, life-saving emergency alerts, and public affairs programs," said Harrison.

When the Trump administration attempted a phase-out of public broadcasting funding last year, Congress showed zero interest in following its lead.

Republicans in Congress have historically targeted noncoms for funding cuts over what they see as a liberal bias, but it was Republicans along with Democrats on the Hill who preserved the funding last year against attacks from the administration, which had wanted to axe so called "soft power" programs like CPB and the NEA to make room for boosting the budgets of "hard power" departments like Defense and Homeland Security.