The Senate is expected to approve a bill to fund public broadcasting services, but the Bush administration and Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., would like to see the funding cut.


After months of controversy, a $1.1 billion bill to fund public broadcasting services appeared Tuesday to be headed for approval by the Senate after bipartisan agreements were reached on issues of balance and decency in programming.

Conservative opponents, with the backing of the Bush administration, were pressing ahead, however, with efforts to cut the funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. An amendment was to be offered before Wednesday's scheduled vote on the bill to reduce the proposed authorization from $1.1 billion to $875 million.Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, legislation floor manager, expressed confidence that Democratic and Republican supporters would block the cuts.

Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., who has sponsored the amendment to cut the $311 million from the CPB authorization, was absent because he was undergoing heart surgery. His proposal was going to be advanced by Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss.

The public broadcasting bill was shelved last March after Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., and other GOP critics argued that CPB programs showed a pronounced ``liberal bias.'

A compromise between Dole and Inouye would provide for greater public disclosure of CPB's procedures for allocating funds to producers of public television and radio programs. It also would make available reports from public television and radio stations on how they used funds received from the private, non-profit corporation.

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