Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GOP spending cuts aim at public TV, Big Bird

When the GOP-led House takes up its plan tomorrow to slash spending for the rest of 2011, Big Bird and his Sesame Street buddies will get a starring role in the debate.

The Republican proposal calls for eliminating funding for the Corp. for Public Broadcasting, the largest source of funding for public television and a longtime partner in the Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind the educational show. Public TV has long been in the GOP's cross hairs.

"This Republican budget would essentially kill Big Bird while continuing to subsidize Big Oil," Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said over the weekend.

Markey is no stranger to fights with the GOP over Big Bird and Elmo, defending public TV funding in 2008 and in previous years. The liberal group has an online petition to save taxpayer dollars for public broadcasting.

House Speaker John Boehner, while not specifically addressing the cut for public television, vowed today that Republicans will seek even deeper spending cuts if their plan to cut $100 billion for the remaining seven months of the fiscal year goes through.

"Our goal is to listen to the American people and liberate our economy from the shackes of debt, over-taxation and big government," Boehner said.

By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

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