Congress Must Pass a Clean Budget With No Harmful Riders
196 Groups Have Joined the Call
Every year, Congress must pass a series of appropriations bills to fund the crucial services and safeguards that protect American families and communities. This year, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are proposing a budget that is rigged for millionaires, billionaires and big corporations.
It’s bad enough that Republican lawmakers are proposing deep and painful funding cuts to the agencies that protect our health and safety, our workplaces and wallets, as well as our environment and our economy. But they’re also threatening to attach hundreds of harmful policy riders to the budget that would weaken, repeal or block essential public protections. The inclusion of poison pill riders risks a costly and disruptive government shutdown when funding expires on Dec. 8.
Nearly 200 organizations have joined together to form the Clean Budget Coalition. We’re calling on Congress and the White House to pass a clean budget with no harmful riders, one that funds our communities and protects our families. Follow the Clean Budget Coalition on Twitter @regsrock.
Clean Budget News & Resources (FY 2018)
Holiday gatherings with the family can be awkward, especially if you aren’t prepared for the inevitable table talk. Feeling like you don’t have enough fodder to sustain a conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table this month? Fret not! Every year around this time, my colleagues write about the budget process as the clock ticks for Congress to pass a clean budget – that is, a budget free from “poison pill” policy provisions and seemingly innocuous regulatory process riders that would hamper agencies from utilizing the best available science in rulemaking. These anti-science riders are extraneous special interest policies tacked onto a must-pass spending bill, a sort of parasitic mutualism, if you will. This year, I have a gift for our readers ahead of the holidays: a brief list of harmful anti-science riders that would weaken science-based safeguards, potentially putting the health and safety of families at risk, repurposed as a guide to navigating uncomfortable silence and forced interactions with your family at Thanksgiving.
It’s Halloween and the ghouls and ghosts are out raising hell. However, some flying monkeys from a variety of villains resurfaced earlier this year and have been wreaking havoc for months and will continue to do so if something isn’t done. When it comes to the budget deal, poison pill riders are the flying monkeys of the political world; out to do the bidding of big business, the Chamber of Commerce and other special interests. Ideological riders are provisions that address extraneous and unpopular policy issues and are often slipped into unrelated must-pass bills – including this year’s appropriations package – as a way to strong arm approval for treacherous ideas that result in a dangerous strategy for the American public.
Through a process known as budget reconciliation, Congress can pass laws that, in theory, align federal spending and revenue with the budget it previously decided on. It’s a potent tool, as a grand package of provisions can be advanced with a simple majority vote. And as we have seen before, Republican Leadership loves to lard up these ostensibly fiscal bills with policy riders that otherwise would fail on their merits.
This week’s vote-a-rama in the U.S. Senate will set the table for a feeding frenzy of corporate handouts later in the year, when the U.S. Congress must pass appropriations bills before funding expires in December. Stopping poison pill riders that act as earmarks for industry and other well-heeled interests should be a top priority, as these measures have no place in government funding legislation. This budget resolution contains the ultimate rider: tax reconciliation instructions that would fund gargantuan tax cuts for megarich campaign donors and would lead to the slashing of vital public services such as Medicaid, Medicare, public education and nutrition assistance. Reconciliation is nothing but a partisan money grab: a ploy to let corporations raid the treasury that could not possibly survive the normal legislative process.