WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 17, 2019 – House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a $20 million increase in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - the first increase in 10 years - and the House formally approved the increase today as part of a package of bills to fund the federal government in fiscal year 2020. The Senate is expected to consider the funding package later this week.
"America's Public Television Stations are grateful for this increase, which will begin to restore the nearly $100 million in purchasing power public broadcasting has lost in a decade of frozen funding," said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America's Public Television Stations.
"While we have appreciated steady funding through 10 years of budgetary austerity, we have been under increasing pressure to do more with less in recent years. Technology, viewer habits and our public service missions have changed dramatically during this time, and this increase in funding to $465 million will enable local public television stations to educate more children, protect more lives and property, and equip more well-informed citizens with the tools they need to guide the world's most important democracy," Butler said.
"We are also grateful that this legislation provides level funding of $20 million for the public media interconnection systems that help support our public safety and homeland security missions, deliver national programs to even the most rural and remote audiences, and create operational efficiencies that stretch the value of every federal dollar.
"And we are especially pleased that the House has provided $29 million, an increase of more than $1.2 million, in FY 2020 for Ready To Learn, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports the creation of public television's unmatched early childhood educational content and activities on-air, online and on-the-ground.
"Public television helps millions of preschool children get ready to learn in school and succeed in life, helps close the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers, and supports two million teachers who educate 40 million K-12 students in American classrooms every day.
"Public television delivers essential public safety services, providing the backbone for presidential communications with the American people in times of national emergency, linking local law enforcement and first responder agencies with one another and with the public, and partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to use public television's broadcast signal to enhance public safety communications through datacasting.
"And public television serves as the "C-SPAN" of State governments, hosts candidate debates at every level of the ballot, and tells the story of hometown and heartland America - local public affairs, local history, local culture - as no one else in the media universe does," Butler said.
"These are unique, essential services provided only by local public television stations, and federal funding ensures that these services are available to everyone, everywhere, every day.
“We commend the bipartisan leadership in both chambers for their excellent work in reaching this funding agreement, and we are encouraged by this strong bipartisan support for public media funding. We salute House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Committee Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK), and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO), Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and the full bipartisan membership of the Appropriations Committees and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittees.
"The broad support for public media funding among both Republicans and Democrats in Congress reflects the overwhelming support the American people have for local public television stations' service in communities across the country, and we couldn't be more proud of this vote of enhanced confidence in our work."
America's Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and helping member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people. For more information, visit www.apts.org.