America

House Votes To Cut NPR's Federal Funds

The House of Representatives just voted 228-192 to bar NPR from receiving any more federal funds. It was a partisan vote, with Republicans voting "aye" and Democrats voting "nay."

As NPR's Audie Cornish reported earlier:

"Two percent of NPR's revenue comes through competitive grants from federal agencies — in the commerce and education departments, for example. But [NPR] member station fees make up another 40 percent of revenue. And the House bill would bar stations from using any federal funds for NPR.

"Republicans on the House Rules Committee said the move to defund the organization this week was sparked by the controversial and edited videos of NPR executives speaking disparagingly of conservatives, and saying NPR did not need federal funding."

As for what happens next, The National Journal says that "Republican efforts to cut off federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR are unlikely to advance past the House, as both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the White House are weighing in with their opposition."

Politico does some play-by-play of the lively debate on the House floor.

Update at 3:45 p.m. ET. Breaking Down The Vote:

No Democrats voted in favor of cutting the funds — all 228 "aye" votes were from Republicans. Seven Republicans voted against the cut. See the roll call here.

Update at 4:25 p.m. ET. The One "Present" Vote Explains His Thinking:

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) cast the only "present" vote on the legislation. Amash, one of the House's most active users of social media, writes on his a long note on his Facebook page about why he did that.

"I want to defund NPR. But I want to do it the right way, in accordance with the Rule of Law," he says. He says that:

"The bill's treatment of NPR is arguably unconstitutional and definitely violates the Rule of Law. The bill is arguably unconstitutional because it likely is a bill of attainder. Art. I, Sec. 9, of the Constitution prohibits Congress from passing bills of attainder. The idea behind the bill of attainder ban is that Congress shouldn't enact laws meant to punish particular persons or entities, because the proper way to punish a wrongdoer is after the accused has been given a chance to defend himself at trial in a court. After the federal government similarly singled out ACORN, a federal court ruled the defunding was an unconstitutional bill of attainder. A federal appellate court reversed, but on grounds specific to the facts of the case.

"Whether or not H R 1076 is a bill of attainder, passing such a bill violates the Rule of Law."

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