News & Resources
This resource bank contains FY 2018 budget cycle news articles, op-eds, editorials, blogs, press releases and other resources from Clean Budget Coalition members and allies. Use the controls below to search, sort and filter. Content is added daily. Access resources on FY 2017 (Trump), FY 2017 (Obama) and FY 2016 budget cycle riders.
Congress is in the midst of frenetic negotiations to reach a budget deal before leaving later this month for the holidays. Democratic leaders have signaled their caucus would be united in opposing a deal that does not offer parity for defense and nondefense spending or if extraneous policy riders are tacked on by the GOP. Republicans hold a more comfortable 23-seat margin in the House, but the three dozen members of the hard-right Freedom Caucus have resisted domestic spending increases. If they hold firm, leaders will need to rely on House Democrats, whose price would likely be equal defense and nondefense spending increases for fiscal 2018 and a robust hurricane/wildfire package.
Now, Congress is working on the omnibus spending bill for 2018, which may have environmental appropriations close to those from last year. Then again, the bill could be changed to pay for expected cuts in the so-called tax reform bill, which has everyone on Capitol Hill struggling to reconcile differences in the House and Senate bills. Congress must also pass another temporary “continuing resolution” to keep the government operating through the new year. Whether environmental budgets will take big hits in the eventual 2018 omnibus bill is anybody’s guess. At the same time, environmentally damaging riders cling to the budget, as well as to the administration’s new tax plan, with provisions that would exempt the federal livestock grazing program from environmental review, would prevent the BLM from fully collecting oil royalties, and thwart efforts to control methane pollution from federal lands oil drilling.
Lifting the caps equitably must be a top priority for Congress, so that it can proceed as quickly as possible to enact an omnibus spending bill for the rest of FY 2018. An adequately funded omnibus will allow investments that will provide for economic growth and opportunity, and should not be undermined by divisive poison pill riders.
Last week Senate Republicans passed a tax bill that hands massive tax breaks to corporations and the rich at the expense of low-income and middle-class Americans. Waiting in the wings on Capitol Hill are proposed GOP spending bills that would help the wealthy winners in this year’s epic tax rewrite lock in their power. Republicans have hidden “policy riders” in the fine print of those bills that will further open the floodgates to big money in politics — while making darn sure we can’t find out where it’s coming from. That’s a surefire way to guarantee that the special interests and billionaires bankrolling federal elections get to increase their influence in Washington without any annoying scrutiny from voters.
Waiting in the wings on Capitol Hill are proposed GOP spending bills that would help the wealthy winners in this year’s epic tax rewrite lock in their power. Republicans have hidden “policy riders” in the fine print of those bills that will further open the floodgates to big money in politics — while making darn sure we can’t find out where it’s coming from. That’s a surefire way to guarantee that the special interests and billionaires bankrolling federal elections get to increase their influence in Washington without any annoying scrutiny from voters.
Public Citizen today joined a diverse coalition of more than 30 organizations in sending a letter (PDF) to U.S. Senate and U.S. House leadership calling on Congress to pass a clean budget with no poison pill riders, particularly one that would stop the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending. The organizations that signed the letter represent a broad range of interests, including labor unions, good government organizations, environmental groups, faith organizations, investors, and state and local groups.
Now, Congress is working on the omnibus spending bill for 2018, which may have environmental appropriations close to those from last year. Then again, the bill could be changed to pay for expected cuts in the so-called tax reform bill, which has everyone on Capitol Hill struggling to reconcile differences in the House and Senate bills. Congress must also pass another temporary “continuing resolution” to keep the government operating through the new year. Whether environmental budgets will take big hits in the eventual 2018 omnibus bill is anybody’s guess. At the same time, environmentally damaging riders cling to the budget as well as to the administration’s new tax plan, with provisions that would exempt the federal livestock-grazing program from environmental review, would prevent the BLM from fully collecting oil royalties, and thwart efforts to control methane pollution from federal lands oil drilling.
The Congress — and here I really mean just a handful of members who are apparent zealots on the issue of keeping dark money dark like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — has used the budgetary process to sneak in pernicious policy riders. Because the budgetary process has become so mucked up and irrational, lurching from one continuing resolution to the next with the possibility of the government shutting down or the U.S. careening through its debt limit, it's hard for the public to keep track of what’s frequently a rushed and closed door dead of night process. There is an alternative: (1) pass a clean budget without the pernicious policy riders; (2) pass a tax reform without trashing the Johnson Amendment; and (3) pass the Honest Ads Act so that voters get more information about who is trying to influence their votes.
The Campaign Legal Center sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, strongly opposing measures in the appropriations bill that threaten to undermine important protections for the democratic process.
As we move into December, one of the most important fights in Congress relates to the massive spending bill to fund the operations of the federal government in 2018 – where the House and Senate try to find agreement between the respective bills in each chamber and send one final plan to the president for his signature. There are important spending levels in the bill that have implications for the enforcement of our federal animal protection laws, such as the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act. But that bill is also a vehicle for lawmakers to attach riders, and some Republican lawmakers have attached some very destructive anti-wildlife and anti-horse riders that are an immense threat to animal welfare.
House and Senate Republicans have inserted language into spending bills aimed at blocking legal challenges to the Trump administration’s effort to repeal a 2015 water protection rule that gave two federal agencies broad leeway in regulating activities that could affect streams and tributaries.
Once again, the Republican leadership, especially in the House, is advancing a Big Polluter Agenda to undermine just about every basic environmental protection current law provides to the American people. It appears no environmental law is safe from the demands of corporate polluters and their cheerleaders in the Republican Party. The Republican Leadership is trying to force this Big Polluter Agenda on the public through provisions in must-pass spending bills. These provisions are called "riders" because they ride along on unrelated legislation. Riders that are typically tacked onto a spending bill, for example, would not change federal spending by one cent. Instead, riders are used to sneak through legislative changes that would be difficult to pass on their own in open congressional debate. Riders often result in the measures getting less scrutiny and enable their sponsors to avoid responsibility for pushing them. In the past, spending riders have led to government shutdowns when intransigent Republicans were unwilling to fund the government without restricting environmental protection.
One of the less attractive legislative developments in recent years has been the use of "must-pass" legislation, like appropriations bills, as stealth vehicles for policy changes. In an earlier day these provisions were called "riders." There are no hearings, no bills are introduced, there is no floor debate, there are certainly no roll-call votes; the provisions are inserted during the committee process. Members of Congress who want the government to remain funded are faced with the terrible choice: Will I vote to close down the government over this rider, or will I swallow my objections to the item in question and vote to pass the broader legislation? These maneuvers often relate to obscure but significant matters. A recent case impacts the visa mills that are used to disguise some illegal alien workers as legitimate students
Thanksgiving is the official day to be grateful – to count one’s blessings from the year and reflect on how to make things better for the next one. Regrettably, this year Congress has given us little to be thankful for with the ongoing battles for health care, attempts to give tax handouts for the wealthy, and inserting dangerous poison pill riders into budget bills, intending to strip important protections from working Americans.
Once again, Republican leadership is hell-bent on hijacking the government funding process to ram through a long list of toxic policy riders targeting the environment and public health. The Senate Interior/EPA appropriations bill released today includes provisions to clear-cut our national forests, gut Roadless Rule protections for the Tongass National Forest, threaten imperiled species, and attack vital clean water safeguards. This is completely unacceptable, and we urge Senate Republicans to abandon this ideological approach and instead work to advance strong spending legislation free of poison pill riders.
This bill continues to halt important work by the IRS to create bright lines where nonprofits engage in political activity. Further, it blocks the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from considering a rule for corporate political spending disclosure. And it relaxes campaign finance coordination limits, opening the spigot for more corporate political spending. Campaign finance demands enormous reform, and stalling popular and needed reforms moves us backward.
Senate Republicans today attacked the gray wolf, lesser prairie chicken and the Endangered Species Act by attaching more than a dozen poison-pill riders to legislation to fund the Department of the Interior for 2018. The riders introduced by Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowsi (R-Alaska) include a provision that would end protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes states despite two court decisions upholding protections for this endangered species. The legislation would also prohibit the Fish and Wildlife Service from taking any action to save the lesser prairie chicken from extinction.
In attacking the CFPB through budget riders Wall Street’s allies in Congress are trying to muscle through a weakening of the federal agency with a track record of standing up for consumers in the financial services marketplace, and holding big banks and predatory lenders accountable. This move would be dangerous to the financial security of millions of American families and deeply unpopular. The congressional majority is pushing billions in tax cuts for Wall Street, and now they want to use the budget as a vehicle to make it easier for payday lenders and powerful big banks alike to rip off everyday Americans. We need a budget without poison pill riders at all.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s addition of Sections 508 and 509 to the 2018 Senate Interior Appropriations bill would exempt Alaska’s two national forests, the Tongass National Forest -- the gem of southeastern Alaska and our nation’s largest national forest -- and the spectacular Chugach National Forest near Anchorage, from the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Together, these appropriations riders would remove the Roadless Rule’s protections from nearly 15 million acres of Alaskan roadless areas, 9.5 million acres in the Tongass and 5.4 million acres in the Chugach. That’s nearly one-quarter of all national forest roadless land in the entire U.S. This is an outrageous and unprecedented political assault on a landmark conservation policy achievement.
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.
We're facing potentially hundreds of poison pill riders in federal spending legislation that has to be passed in December. Here's what's at stake.
The House is expected to take up the Trump administration's $29 billion funding request for hurricane and wildfire relief next week, but there's already signs of trouble for the latest batch of disaster spending. Democrats, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have strongly spoken out in recent days about adding controversial measures to the bill, which would make it harder to pass. During his floor speech yesterday, Schumer warned Republicans — "particularly those in the House" — against including "extraneous, ideological policy riders" to the supplemental.