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Diana DeGette: NPR bill is ‘a punitive measure reflecting an extreme agenda’

Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette railed Thursday against the effort led by Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn to strip federal funding from National Public Radio. “The bill threatens almost 9,000 jobs in the broadcasting community and, frankly, is an unwarranted attack on the content of public radio,” she said, adding that it was another bill the GOP-controlled House had introduced this session to make partisan points but that failed to address stubbornly high unemployment levels and the struggling economy.

The full transcript of DeGette’s comments:

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/fc291a3481amborn.jpg.jpg

M. Speaker I rise today to express the voices of the hundreds of people flooding my offices with calls and emails to plead for us to do the right thing and vote down this misguided legislation.

H.R. 1076 would cripple the public radio system in this country that currently provides vital news and information to over 27 million Americans each week.

I would first like to set the record straight – this bill will not save a single taxpayer dollar. Not one. And it will not reduce our federal deficit by one dime. Not one.

My colleague from Colorado and his leadership have tried to portray this bill as a savings to taxpayers – and with all due respect, that is simply untrue.

This bill is no more than a punitive measure reflecting an extreme agenda.

It would devastate 900 public radio stations across the country unfairly targeting smaller stations in rural and regional areas where there are fewer news outlets and where broadband is insufficient.

The bill threatens almost 9,000 jobs in the broadcasting community and, frankly is an unwarranted attack on the content of public radio.

And the ultimate agenda of my Republican colleagues is laid bare when one considers that the Leadership rushed this bill through, ignoring promises to take legislation through regular order, and in short, breaking all their own professed rules to get this legislation to the Floor.

M. Speaker, we’ve now been in session for 11 weeks, and the Republican leadership has not yet introduced a single bill to create jobs.

They’ve instead focused on advancing an extreme agenda that does nothing to get Americans back to work.

And today, rather than coming together to create jobs for the American people and address the fiscal situation squarely before us, we are spending our time debating and voting on a bill that is nothing more than social commentary in action to impugn one of our nation’s most vital news sources.

When we began our session, we all proudly read from the Constitution, and in that process were reminded of our core values as a nation and a government.

One of those values is reflected in the First Amendment which supports the ability of Americans to access news and information through a free press.

Sadly M. Speaker, this bill would ultimately limit vital news coverage millions of Americans so desperately need.

So I urge my colleagues to vote no on this damaging and unwarranted bill.

Lamborn has said his bill would in the end save taxpayers up to $64 million when teamed with an appropriations bill. Although in rallying support for the bill in the past he has harshly criticized NPR as liberal and biased, he has more recently said he is simply looking to cut spending and that NPR would be better off with a new business model that would help it thrive as a free-market product.

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