Taking on Big Bird — Again

TAKING ON BIG BIRD — AGAIN….In the mid-’90s, Gingrich & Co. thought there would be minimal political backlash if they tried to slash funding for PBS. They were wrong, the public rallied behind Sesame Street characters (Save Big Bird!), and the GOP backed off.

Ten years later, conservatives in the House have decided to give this another shot.

House Republicans yesterday revived their efforts to slash funding for public broadcasting, as a key committee approved a $115 million reduction in the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs.

On a party-line vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees health and education funding approved the cut to the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes money to the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. It would reduce the corporation’s budget by 23 percent next year, to $380 million, in a cut that Republicans said was necessary to rein in government spending.

The reduction, which would come in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, must be approved by the full Appropriations Committee, and then the full House and Senate, before it could take effect. Democrats and public broadcasting advocates began planning efforts to reverse the cut.

The Boston Globe added, “Republicans say they remain adamant that public broadcasting cannot receive funding at the expense of healthcare and education programs.” That’s an interesting spin — Republicans are prepared to boost spending in healthcare and education? Since when?

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