Why the House Labor-H Bill Threatens Public Media

By Cait Beroza |

Black background with on air sign lit red

This post was updated on July 11, 2024.

The Fiscal Year 2025 House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-Education) bill proposes defunding core public media funding – about $1.60 per person each year – threatening to dismantle public media’s foundation. Here’s why we should all be concerned about its impact on local public media stations and what you can do to defeat this legislation:

If enacted, this legislation would jeopardize your local public media service.

The House Labor-HHS-Education bill eliminates Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) funding, which is essential for sustaining the local service of 1,500+ local public radio and TV stations. Stations rely on CPB funding to invest in community-valued content and services; without it, they may be forced to cut programs, outreach to early learners, public forums, or broadcast areas.

Rural and Native American communities could lose access to local media altogether.

With limited local resources and local media options available, stations serving rural and Native American communities face the greatest risk of going off-air and losing access to local media altogether.

Access to lifesaving information and programming would be threatened.

This legislation would also defund Interconnection, public media’s distribution network and the backbone of emergency alerts and warnings, jeopardizing the delivery of lifesaving information and access to public media programming.

Local economies may be severely affected.

CPB funding supports more than 20,000 jobs in all 50 states and U.S. territories and fuels local economies. This funding also allows stations to provide on-the-job training for students, creating a pipeline of future media professionals, and offer vital services to local job seekers and educators. Without funding, these jobs, opportunities and services would be at risk.

Beloved children’s educational content and outreach may be diminished.

While funding for the Ready To Learn program, which supports the creation of research-based educational content and outreach for children, was preserved, the other proposals threaten the accessibility and impact of this content by undermining the health of local public media stations.

CPB funding also supports stations’ in-person learning experiences and training for families, community partners and educators to expand the reach and impact of this research-based content.

The Fiscal Year 2025 House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill not only endangers access to vital information, educational resources, and alerts and warnings, it undermines the economic and societal benefits that public media brings to every corner of the nation.

This is why we must work quickly to oppose this bill and any other measures that would weaken our public media stations. Our actions are needed now to protect the future of public media in our communities.

Later this month, the full House of Representatives is likely to consider the House Labor-HHS-Education bill, and we’re mobilizing key advocates to put pressure on their Representatives to oppose the bill.

The Senate Appropriations Committee may consider its Labor-HHS-Education and Homeland Security bills at the end of July, and we’re also working to ensure they provide robust public media funding.

Call or email your Representative and urge them to vote against the House Labor-HHS-Education bill.

Let’s make our voices heard now to ensure that public media stations continue to serve as a vital source of public service journalism, education, cultural enlightenment, and community resilience for generations to come.