After Shutdown: Administration Gives $445,000,000 to Corporation for Public Broadcasting

October 3, 2013 - 3:15 PM

President Barack Obama, Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff of PBS interview President Barack Obama. (White House photo/Pete Souza)

(CNSNews.com) - On the first day of the “shutdown” of the federal government, when members of the U.S. Senate were going to the well of their house to point out that the shutdown would prevent the National Institutes of Health from starting clinical trials for cancer patients and others facing possibly terminal illnesses, the administration was giving $445,000,000 to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, according to the Daily Treasury Statement.

That means PBS NewsHour, National Public Radio and Sesame Street got a taxpayer subsidy during the shutdown, but not would-be cancer patients at the NIH.

The $445 million the Treasury handed over to CPB was more than the $119 million the Treasury paid on the first day of the shutdown in interest on U.S. government debt that is held by the public. It was also more than $171 million in Social Security benefits the Treasury paid that day. But it was less than the $592 million the Treasury paid for Veterans Affairs programs on the first day of the shutdown.

The $445 million the Treasury gave to CPB on the first day of the shutdown was also almost as much as the $471 million the administration gave to the entire Department of Health and Human Services that day.

CNSNews.com contacted a spokesman for CPB to ask for an explanation of why CPB got $445 million in taxpayer money on the first day of the federal government “shutdown. The spokesman suggested that CNSNews.com call the Office of Management and Budget--which is part of the White House--and responded by emailing to CNSNews.com two statements on CPB's website. The first pointed out that CPB is a “private, not-for-profit corporation.”

The second said: “For 35 years, decisions on the amount of federal support for public broadcasting have been made two years ahead of the fiscal year in which the funding is allocated. In other words, Congress approves the FY2013 funding level for CPB during the FY2011 budget cycle, its FY2014 funding during the FY2012 cycle, and so on.”

“CPB also makes available some of the most entertaining, informative, educational, and culturally-relevant programming—including Sesame Street, PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Great Performances, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Marketplace—through the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), NPR, American Public Media, and Public Radio International (PRI),” said the statement on the CPB website.