10.26.2010 2

Will Juan Williams Take Down Public Broadcasting?

By Rebekah Rast –

The Juan Williams firing by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has given budget hawks an answer to the most pressing budget question that they have faced in this election cycle, “What are you going to cut?”

The answer is being provided by Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), who has legislation before Congress that would defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as a first mini-step toward slimming down America’s $13.6 trillion debt.

In an exclusive interview with Americans for Limited Government (ALG), Rep. Lamborn discussed the outlook of his legislation to defund CPB and how the American people can get involved and stop their hard-earned tax dollars from being spent on unnecessary government-sponsored programs.

“I think in this current environment in the United States the original intent behind public broadcasting is no longer relevant,” says Bill Wilson, president of ALG. “Public broadcasting was originally enacted when there were three network television channels and limited access to news and information. Today there is literally hundreds of cable channels, thousands of blogs and Internet sites from any number of credible entities.”

Since Rep. Lamborn introduced his legislation this past June, he has received about 20 co-sponsors. If his legislation is not taken up during the lame-duck session in November, it will have to be reintroduced next year, but Rep. Lamborn isn’t discouraged.

“On this bill, if we can’t do anything during a lame-duck session, and time is very short, we’re going to start all over in January,” says Rep. Lamborn. “I’m really hopeful that with a new group of people who are serious about getting government under control then we will be in a better spot than ever before to get this passed.”

ALG has worked alongside Rep. Lamborn since his bill’s inception by encouraging other members of Congress to sign onto his legislation and start cutting nonessential government-sponsored services, like CPB.

CPB cost taxpayers about $420 million this year alone.

For Fiscal Year 2013, its next funding cycle, CPB has requested a budget of $608 million. If his bill is enacted, the CPB would not only not get a raise, but would have all of its funding eliminated, saving taxpayers about $450 million each year, according to Rep. Lamborn.

Wilson couldn’t agree more that this program is nothing but frivolous spending by the government.

“This is a total luxury,” Wilson says. “It is a luxury in the sense that this is not something people can’t get other places. Clearly there isn’t enough of a market for it because if there were, it wouldn’t need government taxpayer money just to pay its salaries and pay its overhead.”

Lamborn praises ALG for its efforts to back his bill, limit government and save taxpayer’s money.

“Let me say first of all that Americans for Limited Government have been instrumental in getting this bill going,” he says. “They were there in the very beginning when it was first introduced in June…I really appreciate ALG for its commitment to saving the taxpayers money, getting our massive government under control by getting back to the limits that we should have under the enumerated powers of the U.S. Constitution.”

Both ALG and Rep. Lamborn know that this legislation needs more support by Congress and urges the American people to call their Representatives and tell them to cosponsor his legislation, H.R. 5538.

“People need to contact their Congressmen and say, ‘Cosponsor H.R. 5538 to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,’” says Lamborn.

ALG launched a national petition drive last week to defund public broadcasting: http://www.defundpublicbroadcasting.org. Taxpayers who are fed up with sponsoring government-run media who visit the site can also contact their members of Congress.

Wilson adds, “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting only gets about 13 percent of its total budget from federal taxpayers, which the corporation itself is quick to point out. They can finance themselves via donations, or move toward a profit model if they choose, but taxpayers should not be obligated to pay for programming which does not treat all sides fairly.”

Congress needs to start cutting somewhere and it is clear that Rep. Lamborn’s legislation is causing quite a following. It is obvious many Americans don’t want their hard-earned dollars spent on government-biased programming.

“The budget will never be balanced, and the $13.6 trillion debt never paid down if members cannot cut unnecessary spending from the budget like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,” Wilson states.

Will this next Congress uphold their promises that got them elected and start the responsible process of trimming the federal budget? ALG, Rep. Lamborn and many Americans are hopeful it will.

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau.

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