(CNSNews.com) - Two Republican senators on Friday introduced a bill to stop taxpayer subsidies to public radio and television.
Since 2001, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has received nearly $4 billion in taxpayer money for National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said with the nation on the brink of bankruptcy, some decisions to cut spending are difficult -- but not this one:
"Americans struggling to make ends meet shouldn’t be forced to fund public broadcasting when there are already thousands of choices for educational and entertainment programming on the television, radio and Web," DeMint said. "President Obama’s own bipartisan debt commission proposed ending these unnecessary subsidies to public broadcasting. NPR boasts that it only gets 2 percent of its funding from taxpayers and PBS gets about 15 percent, so these programs should be able to find a way to stand on their own.”
Coburn called subsidies for public broadcasting "indefensible." "The federal government has no business picking winners and losers in today’s highly competitive media environment. NPR and CPB will do just fine without largesse from Washington," Coburn added.
CPB was incorporated as a private, nonprofit corporation under the authority of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, and its first taxpayer subsidy in 1969 was $5 million. In the current fiscal year, CPB is slated to receive $430 million from taxpayers, and President Obama recently asked for an increase to $451 million, the senators said.
PBS President Paula Kerger received $632,233 in compensation in 2009, according to the tax forms that nonprofits must file, while NPR President Emeritus Kevin Klose received more than $1.2 million in compensation.
DeMint and Coburn also noted that in 2010, NPR accepted a $1.8 million grant from the Open Society Foundation, backed by liberal financier George Soros, to hire 100 reporters. Additionally, NPR has an endowment of over $200 million, they said in a news release.