House Republicans--and only House Republicans--have passed a bill to prohibit federal funding for NPR. Why?
Increasingly, there are distinct, separate cases being made to halt the taxpayer funding that makes up two percent of NPR's budget. The first one, sheer fiscal conservatism, existed before any of NPR's recent controversies--before the firing of Juan Williams in October, and before James O'Keefe released his recent undercover videos.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), the original NPR defunder, first pushed a defunding bill last summer. He doesn't oppose NPR's editorial decisions; he just doesn't think it's an essential service worthy of taxpayer money. The Senate's fiscal hawks, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), have made the fiscal argument on their own as they've pushed a parallel Senate bill.
Lamborn told me in an interview last week, after the release of O'Keefe's first video:
It's not an essential government service, and maybe at one point 40 years ago, when all you had were three major networks, and that was pretty much it, you could have made a smart-bidder argument. But today there are so many media outlets available in so many formats that people thought inconceivable just a few years ago ... it's outlived the reason it was originally created.
Lamborn didn't seem too bothered (or surprised) by the anti-Republican, anti-Tea Party musings of exec Ron Schiller. For him, the video was significant because Schiller echoed something Lamborn had said before: That NPR could simply do without the funds.