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Schakowsky Seeks Increased FTC Money

House Appropriations Approves Funding Bill Removing Advance CPB Funding for FY27

The House Appropriations Committee voted 31-25 Wednesday to advance its Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee FY 2025 funding bill without advance FY 2027 money for CPB after Democrats didn’t attempt to restore the allocation. The House Rules Committee, meanwhile, will consider filed amendments to Appropriations’ FY25 Financial Services Subcommittee bill (HR-8773) that aim to undo a ban on the FCC implementing an equity action plan and increase the FTC’s annual funding. The measure proposes boosting the FCC’s annual allocation to $416 million but includes riders barring the commission from implementing GOP-opposed net neutrality and digital discrimination orders (see 2406050067).

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House Appropriations' report on the LHHS bill, adopted concurrently with the underlying measure, clarified that it “continues” $535 million in FY25 funding Congress previously allocated CPB but says the panel “does not believe CPB should receive a two-year advance appropriation.” President Joe Biden requested in March that CPB get $595 million for FY27 (see 2403110056). House Appropriations “does not provide funding for [CPB’s] interconnection system” for FY25, the report said. Biden proposed $60 million for that purpose. The LHHS bill would allocate $31 million for the Education Department’s Ready to Learn educational programming grant program, level with Biden’s request and what it received via a March FY 2024 minibus package (see 2403210067).

House Appropriations Chairman Tom Cole of Oklahoma and other Republicans didn’t mention CPB during the markup session. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., decried the LHHS subpanel for not holding hearings during the FY25 cycle with officials from CPB or most other agencies before making funding decisions. “We talked with [CPB] … so we had a better and full understanding of what this money was being spent for and what was needed,” he said. LHHS last held a hearing with CPB officials in 2017, during then-President Donald Trump’s first attempt to completely halt its federal funding (see 1703280018).

Hoyer and House Appropriations ranking member Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., emphasized the Senate will not agree to the LHHS bill as approved Wednesday. Panel Republicans “doubled down on their already tried-and-failed strategy” for LHHS spending, reflecting their unsuccessful attempt to cancel advance FY 2026 funding for CPB during the FY24 cycle (see 2307140069), said DeLauro, who is also the subcommittee ranking member. Congress allocated CPB $535 million in March for FY26.

America’s Public Television Stations are deeply disappointed that the House Appropriations Committee has voted to discontinue federal funding for” CPB and “public media stations’ interconnection system,” CEO Patrick Butler said. “While obscured by a vote to eliminate advance funding for public broadcasting -- a policy proposed by President [Gerald] Ford in 1975 that has protected our programming from political influence for the past 50 years -- the committee made its intention clear by also eliminating $60 million in interconnection funds that connect our stations with each other and with national programming services.”

The House’s “assault on our funding, for the second consecutive year, comes despite the fact that the federal investment in public broadcasting is consistently identified by the American people as the best the government makes, after only national defense and food and drug safety,” Butler said. “We remain hopeful that the strong bipartisan support for public media, both in Congress and among the American people, will ultimately result in full funding for CPB, interconnection and system infrastructure.”

House Rules’ tally of proposed HR-8773 amendments received through Wednesday includes one from House Commerce Committee member Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., that jettisons an Appropriations-approved rider that would prohibit the FCC and other agencies from implementing “Equity Action Plans” (see 2406050067). Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., unsuccessfully tried during the FY24 funding cycle to defund the FCC's Communications Equity and Diversity Council (see 2311080083). House Rules didn’t set a date for reviewing proposed HR-8773 amendments for floor votes, but lobbyists expect chamber leaders will try advancing them before the August recess.

House Communications Subcommittee member Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, proposes barring federal agencies covered by HR-8773 from using FY25 funding to buy, maintain or otherwise use equipment and services from Huawei or other entities on the FCC’s gear blacklist. Pfluger also sought two amendments that would remove and restore $1 million in FCC funding that requires the agency to produce reports. One seeks an FCC report on how it will incorporate stakeholders’ views into spectrum studies the Biden administration’s national spectrum strategy mandates. The other amendment seeks a report on the U.S.’ preparatory process for the 2027 World Radiocommunication Conference and the outcome of the 2023 WRC with a focus on how the events would combat China.

House Innovation Subcommittee ranking member Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., proposes the House give the FTC the full $535 million Biden requested in March. HR-8773 proposes giving the FTC $388.7 million for FY25, which is more than an 8% decrease from its FY24 allocation. Schakowsky also seeks to strip out FTC-related riders, including one barring the commission from using its funding to implement revised merger guidelines.