House Democrats defeated 239–171 a motion by House Republicans to deny federal funding to National Public Radio. Three Democrats voted with the GOP.
The measure was offered as a procedural motion on the floor, the 13th vote on an underlying measure proposed under a website established by Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia to solicit ideas for cutting federal spending.
“News organizations are free to do, say and operate on their own terms, but that doesn’t mean that taxpayers should be forced to fund them,” stated Cantor in a release after the vote. He said the new Republican majority in the House would not “ignore the will of the people” come January.
NPR, meanwhile, stated, “The proposal to prohibit public radio stations from using CPB grants to purchase NPR programming is an unwarranted attempt to interject federal authority into local station program decision-making.”
“In an increasingly fractious media environment, public radio's value in fostering an informed society has never been more critical,” stated the network, which added that it’s imperative for federal funding to continue to ensure that public radio remains available to all and thrives well into the future.
Republicans from Texas, Joe Barton, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Michael Burgess, ranking member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, asked the Government Accountability Office to review NPR’s funding to examine whether NPR is using or used any federally appropriated funds for content creation rather than the technical operation of the network and its stations.
Both Thursday’s vote and the GAO request follow NPR’s decision in October to end its contract with commentator Juan Williams, who’s now working full-time for Fox News. NPR says its funding is unrelated to the Williams situation.