WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 8, 2019 – The House Appropriations Committee today proposed $495 million in advance funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in fiscal year 2022, the first increase for public broadcasting in 10 years.
The proposed increase is included in a broader appropriations bill funding the operations of the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and related agencies. The bill was reported today to the full House for consideration later this year.
“While we appreciate the Congress maintaining stable funding for public broadcasting during the economic and political turmoil of the past decade, the purchasing power of that level funding has been significantly eroded over time, and the increase which the House Appropriations Committee has proposed is desperately needed to help America’s public television stations teach more children, protect more lives and property, and prepare citizens more fully for their indispensable role in guiding the world’s most important democracy,” said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations.
“We are also grateful that the committee has provided level funding of $20 million in FY 2020 for an annual interconnection and infrastructure account, which is the backbone of the public broadcasting system, supporting nationwide emergency alerting, linking local stations with national programming, connecting stations with each other, and creating operational efficiencies.
“And we are especially pleased that the committee has provided $30 million in FY 2020 for Ready To Learn, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports public television’s essential work -- on-air, online and on-the-ground -- in early childhood education. This increase of more than $2 million will allow public television to enhance the successful national-local partnership that produces high-quality, curriculum-aligned national programming and enables local public television stations to make the most of that programming through engagement with community partners including schools, Head Start centers, Boys Clubs and Girls Clubs, and other institutions to help build science, math and literacy skills of children between the ages of two and eight. Public television content created through Ready To Learn grants has been proven to help close the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers.
“With these federal funds, public television helps millions of preschool children get ready to learn in school and succeed in life, and supports two million teachers who educate 40 million K-12 students in American classrooms every day.
“With these funds, 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 with these funds, public television serves as the “C-SPAN” of State governments, hosts candidate debates at every level of the ballot, and produces thousands of hours of programming on local public affairs, history and culture for America’s hometowns.
“We are especially thankful for the bipartisan leadership of Chairwoman Lowey and Ranking Member Granger, and Subcommittee Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole, in producing this positive result and keeping faith with the overwhelming majority of Americans, across the political spectrum, who support federal funding for public television. We are encouraged that this bipartisan congressional support continues to grow year by year, and we will do our best to earn this support every day in service to America’s communities.”
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.