President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget for 2020 aims to cut all funding for PBS and NPR, along with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The president’s request, unveiled in its entirety on Monday, calls on Congress to kill $435 million in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and $126 million from the NEA. The budget, which will spend $4.7 trillion on mandatory and discretionary programs, would leave just enough money to wind down operations of the CPB and NEA.
“[P]rivate fundraising has proven durable, negating the need for continued Federal subsidies,” the budget reads. “Services such as PBS and NPR, which receive funding from CPB, could make up the shortfall by increasing revenues from corporate sponsors, foundations, and members. In addition, alternatives to PBS and NPR programming have grown substantially since CPB was first established in 1967, greatly reducing the need for publicly funded programming options.”
In a statement, PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger criticized the proposal to slash funding, noting Americans have named PBS among the most publically trusted “known institutions” for the past 16 years.
“PBS and our 350 member stations across the country have earned bipartisan Congressional support over the years due to the high value the American people place on the services we provide their communities,” said Kerger. “For a modest investment of about $1.35 per citizen per year, public television provides school readiness for children, support for teachers and caregivers, public safety communications and lifelong learning through high-quality content.”
Despite public broadcast’s apparent bias against conservatives, a Republican-controlled Congress has funded CPB in 2017 and 2018.