House Republicans announced Friday they would take action that could force a vote on defunding NPR in the wake of the firing of news analyst Juan Williams.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said that he is adding a measure to defund the publicly subsidized radio network to the conference's "YouCut" program, which allows the public to vote online on spending programs they want cut. Williams was axed by NPR on Wednesday for comments he made about Muslims, drawing the ire of Republican leaders.
"In light of their rash decision, we will include termination of federal funding for NPR as an option in the YouCut program so that Americans can let it be known whether they want their dollars going to that organization," he said.
Cantor's decision follows a chorus of Republican calls to defund NPR, which they believe leans too far to the left for a news organization that is partially dependent on federal dollars.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Thursday that he is introducing legislation to defund NPR in the upper chamber and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) is renewing a push for his bill that he introduced in June to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which oversees NPR.
House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio), who could be House Speaker next year if his party takes control of the House, said that "it's reasonable" to examine federal subsidies for NPR, which he called a "left-wing radio network."
Under the "YouCut" program, the GOP has promised to force votes on spending cuts chosen by online voters each week the House is in session. Each week, a series of proposed spending cuts is posted online and the House GOP takes up the cut chosen by the most voters.
Longtime commentator Williams told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, "Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I've got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
NPR explained Williams's firing in a statement saying his comments were "inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."
NPR operates using both private and public money, though most of its revenue comes from non-public sources.
-- This post was updated at 11:23 p.m.