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House Set To Vote Today On NPR Funding

With the House of Representatives expected to vote today on a bill that would prevent NPR from receiving federal funds of any kind, NPR's Audie Cornish filed this report for our Newscast:

"Two percent of NPR's revenue comes through competitive grants from federal agencies — in the commerce and education departments, for example.

"But [NPR] member station fees make up another 40 percent of revenue. And the House Bill would bar stations from using any federal funds for NPR.

"Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn [says that the bill would allow stations] to 'purchase programming from NPR or other sources just not with federal taxpayer dollars.'

"Republicans on the House Rules Committee said the move to defund the organization this week was sparked by the controversial and edited videos of NPR executives speaking disparagingly of conservatives, and saying NPR did not need federal funding."

For a "point/counterpoint" debate on whether NPR should get federal money, see this back-and-forth from ABC News commentator George Will (who argues against funding) and NPR's Cokie Roberts (who argues for it).

The Christian Science Monitor writes that "with Democrats controlling the Senate, there's little chance that such a ban on NPR funding will ever get a Senate floor vote, let alone pass. But even without a vote, the issue gives both parties a platform for rallying the base."

Update at 3 p.m. ET: The text of the legislation, by the way, is here. The White House earlier today released a statement saying that the president "strongly opposes" the effort to cut the funds.

Update at 2:55 p.m. ET:It looks like a vote is about to happen. C-SPAN.org is webcasting here.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.