CleanBudget.org to Mobilize Opposition to Harmful Appropriations Riders

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Hundreds of Poison Pill Policy Riders Appear in Draft Appropriations Legislation.

The Clean Budget Coalition today launched a new website – CleanBudget.org – to shine a spotlight on poison pill policy riders that must be taken out of appropriations legislation. More than 170 groups have joined the call for a clean budget that funds our communities and protects our families. This comes as committees in the U.S. House of Representatives have begun passing appropriations bills, many of which contain dozens of inappropriate riders that risk a costly and disruptive government shutdown on Sept. 30.

CleanBudget.org is designed to serve as a valuable resource for lawmakers, reporters, public policy advocates and concerned citizens who want to learn about the threat posed by riders and take action. The news and resources section of the site will be updated daily with the latest blogs, opinion pieces and articles drawing attention to specific riders of concern.

Below are statements from coalition leaders reacting to harmful policy riders attached to FY 2018 appropriations legislation:

“The financial services appropriations bill passed out of committee goes far beyond the definition of a government funding bill. Poison pill riders in this bill would prohibit the IRS from creating a clear definition of ‘political activity’ to allow nonprofits to engage in the democratic process; limit the ways the IRS can interact with churches that engage in politics; stop the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose secret political spending to investors; and stop a U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule restricting forced arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, which would allow corporations to rip off consumers with impunity. This legislation looks more like a right-wing wish list than a government funding bill.”
–Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, Public Citizen

“Like every year, Republicans have hijacked a process solely intended to fund our government to fulfill their ideological war on endangered species and America’s wildlife. Unsatisfied with simply eliminating federal protections, Republicans have prohibited wolf recovery altogether in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, showing just how mean-spirited they can be.”
–Jamie Pang, endangered species campaigner and policy specialist, Center for Biological Diversity

“FSGG Approps. is a gift for the committee’s Wall Street and payday lender patrons stolen from hardworking American consumers. In particular, riders that take away the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s independent funding and eliminate much of its authority to protect the public from financial recklessness must be rejected by the full House and Senate.”
–Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director, U.S. PIRG

“Congress needs to pass a clean spending bill, not exploit the appropriations process to politicize science. It’s unacceptable to put at risk progress toward the enormously popular goals of landmark science-based laws like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act by delaying implementation of science-based standards, permitting the administration to ignore public input and subverting scientific evidence in the process of funding our government. Such ideological riders jeopardize the health and safety of millions of Americans, especially communities of color and low-income communities, and undermine the critical role of science in decision-making.”
–Andrew Rosenberg, Ph.D., Center for Science and Democracy director, Union of Concerned Scientists

“Congress is once again undermining democracy by hiding policy riders in federal funding bills. An especially egregious example appears in not one, but two spending bills from the House that would allow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut the public and scientific experts out of the administrative process. The provision permits EPA to rescind the Clean Water Rule and abandon all legal requirements for doing so. Those requirements include both procedures meant to ensure transparency, deliberation and accountability, and evidence-based decision-making meant to guard against arbitrary government. As a result, these policy riders threaten the legitimacy of EPA and the integrity of our water resources.”
–Emily Hammond, member scholar, Center for Progressive Reform

“Wall Street never tires of trying to gut financial regulations through backroom deals. That’s because they know that most Americans – from all places and all parties – think we need to be tougher on Wall Street, not create more loopholes. No member of Congress should support policy riders that will make it easier for predatory lenders to rip off people or threaten another financial crisis. The public deserves the chance to weigh in on giveaways to Wall Street.”
–Lisa Donner, executive director, Americans for Financial Reform

“President Trump and congressional Republicans need to stop wasting precious resources on their extreme ideological agendas and deliver a clean budget that meets human needs and is free of harmful policy riders that could not become law on their own merits. They have hijacked Labor-HHS-Education funding in order to decimate the critical public health services provided by Planned Parenthood. They are also using the Financial Services-General Government bill to open the floodgates to even more big money in politics and carry out Trump’s promise to ‘destroy’ the separation of church and state. We must resist such threats to our rights, our health and our democracy.”
–Marge Baker, executive vice president, People For the American Way

“Congress must pass a budget free of ideological policy riders that will harm millions of people. Dozens of poison pill riders have been proposed in the appropriations process this year that are of great concern to the civil and human rights community, including riders that would defund Planned Parenthood and defund the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s collection of pay data, which is a critical tool to help identify pay discrimination. There are also proposals that would fund a mass deportation force and the building of a wall that is opposed by local communities. These kinds of radical, anti-American provisions are bad proposals on their own and certainly should not be added to must-pass spending bills.”
–Vanita Gupta, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

“This year’s Interior and Environment Appropriations bill recycles a broad swath of tired policy riders that have no place in annual funding bills, particularly given Republicans’ control over all three branches of government. These riders attack a safety net for sage grouse and agency work on climate change, and reverse gains enacted to make our land planning system more efficient and less conflict-ridden.”
–Jonathan Asher, senior representative for government relations, The Wilderness Society

“We need a budget focused on funding programs and services Americans need and want. But some far-right Republicans want to use our budget process to force their agenda. The proposed Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Bill eliminates funding for critical resources that address discrimination, blocks access to Planned Parenthood health care centers and mandates abstinence-only programs that place our young people at risk.”
–Julianna Gonen, policy director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

“Members of Congress are using the budget process to wedge in harmful attacks on women’s basic health and rights. The Labor-HHS Appropriations bill is more extreme than even the Trump administration’s own budget: It would prevent millions of people from coming to Planned Parenthood for basic health care, eliminate Title X, which 4 million women rely on each year for birth control and essential preventive health care, and allow employers, insurance companies and hospitals to discriminate against women seeking reproductive health care. Meanwhile the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill takes an unprecedented step of codifying the expanded global gag rule, which for the first time ever targets international organizations that work on any U.S.-funded global health program. The ability for many of these organizations to provide critical health care including HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, maternal and child health and Zika prevention would be devastated. The Homeland Security Appropriations bill cruelly targets women with harsh restrictions on access to safe, legal abortion. If passed, these budgets would undo decades of progress for women when it comes to their ability to access health care, to pursue their career and education goals, and for them and their families to lead safe, healthy lives.”
–Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America