On the floor of the U.S. House today, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner mock-congratulated Republican leadership for fast-tracking Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn’s proposal to strip National Public Radio of federal funding for programming. “I’m so relieved we held this emergency session, that we waived the rules of the House… so we can finally get [the Car Talk] guys off my radio.” Weiner said the NPR Car Talk auto-maintenance comedy show was clearly “kinky” and “communist” and chided Republicans for doing the will of voters in placing the war on NPR at the top of their list of how to best serve the country.
The bill passed 228 to 192 down partisan lines. It will very likely fail in the Senate. The White House has already issued a statement opposing the measure.
As has been widely noted in the press, including by the Colorado Independent, Lamborn’s bill saves no tax money. It comes as right-wing media outlets have ramped up a campaign to brand public broadcasting as liberal and biased.
In a statement last year Lamborn described public broadcasting as a “friend and protector of liberal issues and political correctness at the expense of free speech and balanced news reporting.” Lamborn said much the same without a trace of irony in several appearances on Fox News.
Republican Speaker John Boehner today waived House rules that require bills be posted 72 hours in advance to allow for review before they are brought to the floor for a vote. The conservative media attack on NPR has suffered setbacks in the last few days as more evidence emerges that a hidden-video made by James O’Keefe targeting NPR was dubiously edited for effect.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor defended Lamborn’s bill. He also sees NPR as a leftist ideological news outlet.
What [NPR local stations ] are going to be told is: you are not going to be using those taxpayer dollars for programming because we’ve seen how NPR has used that funding and the kind of funding that’s been involved. We are trying to find commonality. Our country is made up of much diversity, with people of a lot of differing opinions. Why should we allow taxpayer dollars to be used to advocate one ideology? Why should we? We shouldn’t. We should insist that our taxpayer dollars are prioritized and the interests of the people of this country are honored. That’s why I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and I yield back.