WASHINGTON–The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted today to provide level funding of $445 million in FY2020 for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and $27.7 million in FY2018 for the Ready To Learn program, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports the creation of public television's on-air, online and on-the-ground children’s educational media content. In addition the committee approved funding of $20 million for an annual interconnection and infrastructure program.
America's Public Television Stations (APTS) president and CEO Patrick Butler expressed the association’s gratitude for the vote, citing the educational and public safety benefits of public broadcasting.
“These federal funds are essential to local public television stations’ public service missions and to ensuring that everyone, everywhere in America, every day has access to these essential services for free,” Butler said. “Public television helps millions of preschool children get ready to learn in school and succeed in life, and supports almost two million educators who teach 40 million K-12 students, including tens of thousands of home schoolers, in America every day.
“Public television delivers essential public safety services, which the events of the past week and a half have proved are more critical than ever. During the flooding in Houston, Houston Public Media’s datacasting infrastructure helped Houston and Harris County first responders monitor flooding conditions by sending live video directly to the dashboards of emergency vehicles from all across the vast Houston metropolitan area. The partnership between Houston Public Media and the public safety community has been literally a life-saver in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Butler also thanked leadership for working across party lines. “We are most grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS), Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO), Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA). The broad support for this funding among both Republican and Democratic members of the committee, where the bill passed on a vote of 29-2 today, mirrors the support the American people have consistently given to our work in communities throughout the country. We are hopeful that the Congress will continue to demonstrate its bipartisan support for public media as the appropriations process moves forward.”