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Clinton, Higgins Call for Restoration of Public Broadcasting Cuts

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Congressman Brian Higgins and US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton are speaking out against proposed cuts to the nation's public broadcasting system.

Senator Clinton was joined in a telephone news conference Wednesday by representatives of several public broadcasting outlets in New York. Clinton said PBS provides a safe haven for young viewers with such programs as "Sesame Street," "Arthur" and "Clifford." She accused House Republicans of "pulling the rug out from decades of quality, family-friendly shows."

Clinton said public radio also plays an important role.

"There's a tremendous audience for public radio, in part because it does come across as thoughtful," Clinton said. "The news is not conducted by people screaming at each other, but by lengthy interviews and by probing difficult issues from all sides."

The House Appropriations Committee has approved a $100 million cut to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. If the cuts stand, Clinton says public television and radio stations in New York would lose more than $11 million.

According to the Association of Public Television stations, WNED Television and Radio in Buffalo would lose more $550,000. WBFO Radio would see nearly $125,000 less in federal support.

Clinton said millions of Americans support continued federal funding of public broadcasting.

"I'm hopeful that the voices and the messages coming into the offices on Capitol Hill will make the case more eloquently than I can," Clinton said. "This was created to provide a public alternative. It has been kept out of politics by and large for most of its existence, and it should be now."

Congressman Higgins said both WNED and WBFO play a crucial role in the lives of Western New Yorkers. He says his office has received an outpouring of support from his constituents who want continued support for public broadcasting. He's says he'll do all he can to stop the cut from being enacted.