OTR Interviews

From National Public Radio to National 'Private' Radio?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 17, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The House votes to ban federal funds from going to National Public Radio. It also prohibits local public stations from using federal money to pay NPR dues and buy its programs.

Now the resolution passed 228 to 192, and now it heads over to the Senate. Critics say the resolution could hurt small public stations, and the White House says it threatens rural communities that rely on news for safety information.

NPR came under fire for a second time recently when a conservative activist James O'Keefe released a hidden camera video of a then NPR senior executive bashing the Tea Party. NPR fired that executive, and right after that NPR's CEO very signed.

Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado joins us. Good evening, sir.

REP. DOUG LAMBORN, R-COLO.: Good to be with you, Greta. It is an honor.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know if it is an honor, but I appreciate you being here. First of all, is this seen as a fundraising element for NPR, the fact that you have gone after them to have them defunded?

LAMBORN: They are very concerned about their funding, and they should be. We said three weeks ago no funding for the parent of NPR, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Today no funding for NPR.

VAN SUSTEREN: They say they don't get much money anyway, so I'm having a hard time understanding where the big dispute is. They say it is less than two percent of their budget.

LAMBORN: In my state of Colorado, public radio only gets six percent from the government. It is hard to pin down the amount that is still serious money. Only in Washington people say that is not a serious amount.

VAN SUSTEREN: I thought it was less than a couple million. How much goes to NPR?

LAMBORN: The best I can tell is about $64 million in fiscal year '10. But it is hard to track.

VAN SUSTEREN: They claim it is much less. Anyway, do you think it is going to get a vet in the Senate?

LAMBORN: Two-thirds of the Senate did not face the voters in the last election and they have not seen, I don't think, the righteous anger of the American people. We in the House all got it. We faced the vote. We came through the other side. They don't understand this is a serious matter, spending in general this is one of a bunch of things.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this a political vendetta or spending issue?

LAMBORN: This to me is a spending issue.

VAN SUSTEREN: You think that is going to happen?

LAMBORN: If we don't, we won't be able to buy plane tickets to go home.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now back to the -- you lost several Republicans, one voted present. Why did you lose seven?

LAMBORN: Some of them have close relations with an NPR station back in their district or related reasons like that. We got 228 votes for the bill.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any Democrats?

LAMBORN: No Democrats.

VAN SUSTEREN: One voted present. I blogged about it he was upset he thought the whole thing was unconstitutional and that's why he voted present.

LAMBORN: He said it was a bill to single out someone. But Congress has the how we are of the purse. If we can't take the funding from some organization we are stuck.

VAN SUSTEREN: To defend him against me he also said he voted to defund the mother company. It is all on GretaWire.com. Anyway, congressman, nice to see you.

LAMBORN: Likewise.