Colorado Springs U.S.Rep. Doug Lamborn is leveraging the FOX News campaign to strip taxpayer funding from National Public Radio to ignite interest in a bill he introduced this summer that would strip taxpayer funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
In June, Lamborn argued his bill wasn’t ideological. “PBS may produce worthwhile content,” he wrote in a release. “That is not the issue. The issue is that we cannot subsidize organizations that can stand on their own two feet in the day of trillion dollar deficits.”
Lamborn is being more forthright now that FOX’s Bill O’Reilly and the Tea Party’s favorite U.S. senator Jim DeMint are waging war against NPR.
“You may have heard about the recent firing of NPR News Analyst Juan Williams and the $1.8 million donation by liberal activist George Soros to hire 100 NPR reporters,” Lamborn wrote to supporters this week. “These two actions make it clear that public broadcasting is a friend and protector of liberal issues and political correctness, at the expense of free speech and balanced news reporting.
“It is time for Congress to prioritize its spending to our nation’s most pressing needs. With the national debt over $13 trillion dollars, the government cannot continue to fund non-essential services that cater to the priorities of the liberal media elite.”
As the Colorado Independent reported in June, Lamborn’s bill, H.R. 5538, received the backing of three of the nation’s most conservative groups: the National Taxpayer’s Union, the Club for Growth, and Americans for Limited Government. Lamborn said the $450 million cut his bill would make was the kind of “low-hanging fruit” Americans were looking for members of Congress to pluck.
Many outside Lamborn’s circle of advisers would point to other varieties of “low-hanging fruit” that might be plucked first.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, for example, Lamborn this summer voted to preserve a controversial program to develop a second alternative engine for the F-35 fighter jet. The cost of the program was a little more than the cost Lamborn hopes to eliminate with his public broadcasting bill, roughly $485 million, according to Reuters. The Department of Defense asked Congress not to fund the program. Pres. Obama threatened to veto the bill that included the program, saying it was essentially an earmark to payout Defense contractors. The Pentagon said the program would spend money that could be much better used to buy additional jets. Congress voted against the Pentagon and the President to pay for the engine.
Lamborn was the sole member of the Colorado delegation to vote for the engine. Ex-Marine, Republican and strong defense backer Rep. Mike Coffman joined with Democrats in agreeing with the Pentagon and the President that the engine program amounted to wasteful spending and he voted against keeping the program in the National Defense Authorization Act.
Lamborn told the Colorado Independent that funding for PBS and for the jet engine shouldn’t be compared.
“These are two unrelated issues,” Lamborn wrote in an email. “In the era of a 500-channel universe, taxpayer-funded broadcasting is a luxury.”
Lamborn appeared on FOX Thursday and Friday to talk about his defund-PBS bill.
FOX’s O’Reilly railed against NPR Thursday. “This is like the ACORN deal,” he said . “No more money to NPR.” For those who don’t only watch FOX, the comment says it all.
Low-income housing and voter registration group ACORN was found not guilty of any wrongdoing by a series of courts around the country. The congressional defunding of ACORN pushed by conservative lawmakers was ruled unconstitutional. The videos that fueled the allegations against ACORN have been exposed as deeply fraudulent and government attorneys have warned that the right-wing activists behind the videos likely violated laws in making them. The architect of the anti-ACORN campaign, James O’Keefe, was subsequently found guilty of crimes related to a similar video campaign he was waging against Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.
In the wake of the ACORN attack, Lamborn celebrated the now-disgraced O’Keefe and signed a congressional commendation to him for “displaying exemplary actions as a government watchdog and young journalist uncovering wasteful government spending.”