Luetkemeyer votes to cut U.S. tax funding for NPR

FULTON SUN File Photo: Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, 9th District

FULTON SUN File Photo: Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, 9th District

Ninth District Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer Thursday voted to support a proposal to terminate taxpayer funding of National Public Radio (NPR).

The proposal was offered as a result of Americans speaking out to Congress through the YouCut Web site on federal spending they would like to reduce or eliminate.

“The American people sent Washington a loud message earlier this month and that message was Washington has to get serious about controlling spending,” Luetkemeyer said. “I heard that message loud and clear, and the American people are using the YouCut Web site to voice their support for spending cuts.”

On the You Cut Web site each week, Americans have the opportunity to vote on a spending cut, and shortly after all the ideas are processed, Luetkemeyer and his colleagues seek a vote on the most popular spending cut proposed by the public.

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., who will be the Republican majority leader next January, has started the You Cut Web site, The project is designed to allow the public to vote on spending cuts that they want the House to enact.

Until newly elected Republicans take office in January, Democrats still control the floor of the House and decide which bills to consider. Cantor and other Republicans try to make a procedural vote on an unrelated piece of legislation the vote on the YouCut item as a symbolic statement.

This week’s YouCut proposal to eliminate federal tax funding for NPR was sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.

Democrats turned aside the Republican proposal by voting 239-171 to close debate on the underlying measure.

Canton spoke out in behalf of Juan Williams, who was fired by National Public Radio for comments he made on Fox News about being uneasy when he sees people dressed in traditional Muslim clothing in airports.

National Public radio receives about $9 million each year in taxpayer funding through direct government grants from various federal agencies, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Cantor says NPR also receives tax funds indirectly. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting makes grants to public radio stations around the nation. Some of these grants can be used to acquire and produce programming. Most often this programming is purchased from NPR. Program fees and dues paid by local public radio stations to NPR account for 40 percent of NPR’s budget or about $65 million last year.

NPR also receives funding from private individuals and organizations. Cantor said NPR officials have contended taxpayer funding is only a small portion of NPR’s overall budget. “Therefore, eliminating taxpayer support should not materially affect NPR’s ability to operate while at the same time saving taxpayers millions of dollars annually,” Cantor said.


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