Republicans failed to start the ball rolling on legislation to defund NPR Thursday, after Democrats in the lame-duck House widely voted against the measure.
Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) had introduced a motion to include the defunding of NPR in a bill meant to make it easier for federal employees to telecommute. The House voted against the measure by a vote of 239 to 171, but passed the teleworking bill.
The Hill reports that Cantor, the soon-to-be House majority leader, suggested the defunding would have had a better chance in the GOP-dominated House next year than in the Democrat-controlled lame-duck session currently underway.
Cantor, like many Republicans, has been calling for the federal government to stop funding NPR since the network fired contributor Juan Williams over comments Williams made on Fox News that he felt “nervous” and “worried” when he saw Muslims at airports.
“News organizations are free to do, say and operate on their own terms, but that doesn’t mean that taxpayers should be forced to fund them,” Cantor said. “Today’s vote was just the latest common sense YouCut to cut spending and save taxpayer dollars, and again Democrats showed that they just don’t get it.”
NPR hailed the move as “good judgment.”
“The proposal to prohibit public radio stations from using CPB grants to purchase NPR programming is an unwarranted attempt to interject federal authority into local station program decision-making,” the public broadcaster said in a statement. “Furthermore, restrictions on the authority of CPB — a Congressionally chartered, independent non-profit organization — make competitive grants to NPR, or any other public broadcasting entity, is misguided.”
Republicans may attempt to defund NPR again, in the GOP-led House next year, but any such bill would inevitably run into trouble in the Democrat-controlled Senate.