As ThinkProgress previously reported, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives voted last month to end all federal funding to National Public Radio (NPR), the same day that it rejected an effort to call for an end to the Afghan war, which would save taxpayers 40,000 times more.
Yet despite this GOP assault on public broadcasting, the public is not going along. Only a quarter of Americans support cuts to public broadcasting. This morning, during an appearance on CNN, GOP Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) offered a new justification for cutting grant funding to NPR as well as Planned Parenthood — saying that it is unconstitutional to fund them:
HOST: Defunding Planned Parenthood and defunding NPR and PBS, some might say the Republicans are doing the same thing, telling people what to do with their lives.
BROUN: No, ma’am, absolutely not. In fact, the thing is, we don’t have constitutional authority under the original intent of the Constitution to fund Planned Parenthood or NPR. A lot of things that we’re doing. In fact, Article 1, Section 8 lists or enumerates the powers of Congress to act, and it’s only 18. We should be dealing with national security, national defense, foreign affairs and very little else. We’ve got to find bridges to send those powers back to the states and people as our Founding Fathers meant for them to.
Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which Broun cites, says that “Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.” It is the wording about “general welfare” under which grant funding to organizations like NPR and Planned Parenthood is authorized.