The White House released President Donald Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget plan for fiscal year 2019 on Monday, which included eliminating federal funding that goes towards the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio.
Trump’s budget — which is forecasted to add at least $7 trillion to the deficit over a 10-year span — adds $300 billion in new spending overall, and includes $18 billion to fund the border wall with Mexico, while slashing Medicare and other social programs by $1.7 trillion.
The budget proposal also called for the elimination of all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting over two years.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting distributes 95 percent of its appropriation from Congress — and 70 percent of its overall funding — towards development of content, community services and the other needs of more than 1,400 public radio and television stations.
“The Budget proposes to eliminate Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) over a two year period,” the proposal said. “CPB grants represent a small share of the total funding for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), which primarily rely on private donations to fund their operations.”
The Corporation would receive a $15.5 million appropriation for fiscal 2019 and $15 million for fiscal 2020, compared with the around $445 million or so it has received in recent fiscal years.
Patricia Harrison, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s president and CEO, responded to the announcement on Monday by saying the cuts would threaten not only programming, but also public media’s ability to provide emergency alerts.
“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,” Harrison said. “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.”
PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger also weighed in on the proposed cuts.
“Public broadcasting has earned bipartisan Congressional support over the years thanks to the value we provide to taxpayers,” Kerger said. “PBS, our 350 member stations and our legions of local supporters will continue to remind leaders in Washington of the significant benefits the public receives in return for federal funding, a modest investment of about $1.35 per citizen per year, which include school readiness for kids 2-8, support for teachers and homeschoolers, public safety communications and lifelong learning.”
Trump’s budget last year made a similar request to eliminate federal funding for NPR and PBS, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.