In a slap to the face of President Trump, a bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations bill was passed out of committee on Monday, May 1 and, among other things, preserves funding levels for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a lifeline to WORT.
The spending bill that preserves funding until the end of September 2017 will soon arrive on President’s Trump desk for his signature or veto and all signs point to President Trump signing the bill. CPB funds account for about 14% of WORT’s revenue.
Besides maintaining the CPB’s budget of $445 million, funding for other cultural programs remained level or was actually increased.
- The National Endowment for the Arts increases from $148 million to $149.8 million
- The National Endowment for Humanities increases from $148 to $150 million
- Office of Museum Services increases from $31 to $32 million
- Smithsonian Institution increases from $840 to $863 million
- U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum increases from $54 to $57 million
- Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts remains level at $36 million
According to groups working to save funding for these cultural programs, six members of Congress were key to maintaining or increasing funding: House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) led the way to preserve and promote these cultural programs. Congressional Arts Caucus co-chairs Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Senate Cultural Caucus co-chairs Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) applied pressure on Congressional leaders to increase funding.
As the public has learned from President Trump’s first 100 days in office, the future is, at best, unpredictable. Nevertheless, the future of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other cultural programs seems to be secured through the end of September. Beyond that, its anyone’s guess. In the meantime, it’s critical for WORT to secure its own future, and our community radio station can only do that with your support.