228-192: House votes to pull the plug on funding for NPR

It’s a nice sop to a conservative base that’s not thrilled with the bite-sized budget deals they’ve seen so far, but it’s going nowhere in the Senate. That’s why they did this as a separate bill, in fact, instead of sticking it in the three-week budget bill that passed a few days ago. Reid and the Democrats would have choked on the latter otherwise.

So rest easy, urban liberals. “All Things Considered” is still on the house.

The bill, passed 228-192 along mainly partisan lines, would bar federal funding of NPR and prohibit local public stations from using federal money to pay NPR dues and buy its programs. The prospects of support in the Democratic-controlled Senate are slim. Seven Republicans broke ranks to vote against the bill.

“It is time for American citizens to stop funding an organization that can stand on its own feet,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., the sponsor. He said it was not a question of content — which many conservatives say has a liberal bias — but whether taxpayer dollars should go to nonessential services. “As a country we no longer have this luxury.”…

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., displayed a blow-up photo of the two brothers who host the car advice show “Car Talk” with the caption, referring to their nicknames, reading “Save Click and Clack.”

Too bad Click and Clack aren’t large animal puppets that entertain kids; the “Save Big Bird” pitches are so much more emotionally effective. If it had a chance of passing in the Senate, this really would have done some damage: As noted by the AP, the federal money that NPR really depends on isn’t the cash it receives directly from the feds but the revenue it gets from local stations that use federal money to buy its programs. Lamborn’s bill would choke off both of those streams. Which makes me wonder, why didn’t the House GOP attach this to the three-week budget resolution? Granted, Reid and the Democrats would have raised a stink about Republicans waging ideological war on the beloved institution of National Public blahblahblah, but if the name of the game is using public jitters over the deficit to force Democrats to accept bite-sized cuts, why not toss in this very small extra cut for good measure? Is the left really going to shut down the government to save NPR? C’mon.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s Democrat Jim McGovern proposing that the House also cut off any federal dollars that might go towards advertising on Fox News. Fine by me — the cases where the feds should be spending money advertising anything are few and far between — but (a) there’s no need to limit that ban to FNC, and (b) as Dreier explains, that’s apples and oranges comparison vis-a-vis propping up NPR with grants. Still, though, a fun bit of grandstanding. Oh, and in case you’re wondering who those seven Republicans are who voted no: Gibson, Hanna, LaTourette, Reichert, Tiberi, Woodall, and … blogosphere fave Sean Duffy. Click the image to watch.