Congress Must Pass a Clean Budget with No Poison Pills

Every year, Congress must pass a set of 12 appropriations bills to fund our government. Throughout that process, unscrupulous lawmakers try to sneak harmful policy riders into the bills as special favors for big corporations and far right extremists. To date, House Republicans have added at least 560 poison pills to their draft FY 24 spending bills. These measures are wildly unpopular, have nothing to do with funding our government, could not become law on their own merits, and must be removed from any final package. Here are just a few:

School Threats - blue

The School Threats Rider would block Justice Department efforts to address the rise in violent threats against school administrators, school board members, teachers, and staff.

Politically Sensitive Investigations - red

The “Politically Sensitive Investigations” Rider would block all investigations of elected officials, political candidates, and their family members, political and religious organizations, and members of the media until the Justice Department requires non-partisan career staff to oversee them.

ICE Detention - yellow

The ICE Detention Rider would direct the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize detention of immigrants to ensure that the average daily population of detainees is at full capacity throughout the year. It also mandates that immigrants in the Alternative to Detention program wear ankle monitors during all immigration proceedings.

Drag Queens - blue

The Drag Queen Rider would ban events with drag queens on U.S. military installations or as part of military recruiting programs, such as drag queen story hour for children or drag queens as recruiters.

Crypto - yellow

The Crypto Rider would block the Treasury Department from issuing its own digital currency that might compete with scammy, privately issued cryptocurrencies. It also would block any attempt to end the use of paper currency as legal tender in the U.S., which no one is trying to do.

Climate Disasters - green

The Climate Disasters Rider would prohibit funding and international disaster relief for any loss or damage attributed to climate change.

Planned Parenthood - red

The Planned Parenthood Rider would prevent the health care provider from participating in health programs funded through the annual Labor-HHS bill -- blocking access to critical preventive services like STI testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, contraception, and sex education at health centers.

Anti-Greening - yellow

The Anti-Greening Rider would stop implementation of Section 205 of Executive Order 14008, which calls for federal agencies to achieve net-zero emissions across their portfolio of buildings, campuses, and installations by 2045 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2032.

Federal Telework - blue

The Federal Telework Rider would prohibit funding for federal agencies until they return to specified telework policies, practices, and levels.

DC Marijuana - yellow

The D.C. Marijuana Rider would prohibit the use of local funds to legalize marijuana.

Contraception Refusal - blue

The Contraception Refusal Rider would require health insurance plans to include a provision allowing providers to refuse to offer or cover contraception based on their religious or moral beliefs.

Social Cost of GHG - green

The Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases Rider would prohibit the White House Office of Management and Budget from considering the costs of greenhouse gases in the development and implementation of budgets, the federal procurement processes, or environmental reviews.

ICE Abortion - red

The ICE Abortion Rider would expand the scope of an existing abortion coverage ban to people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Teen Pregnancy - yellow

The Teen Pregnancy Rider would eliminate funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, while funding abstinence-only programs.

Sponsor Deportation - blue

The Sponsor Deportation Rider would eliminate a provision that protects potential sponsors of unaccompanied children from being deported.

Endangered Species - yellow

The Land Management Rider would codify climate denialism into law by exempting the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management from updating land management plans when new information about the increasingly severe impacts of climate change shows that endangered species are being harmed or killed on public lands.

Latino Museums - blue

The Latino Museums Rider would block funding for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino and operation of the Molina Family Latino Gallery.

Lead Ammo & Tackle - red

The Lead Ammunition and Tackle Rider would prevent agencies charged with wildlife protection from banning toxic lead in ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands unless an impossible set of criteria are met.

Religious Student Groups - yellow

The Religious Student Groups Rider would deny funding to public colleges and universities that have taken action against religious student groups that discriminate or engage in other unlawful conduct based on their religious beliefs.

Electric Vehicles - green

The Electric Vehicles Rider would block procurement of electric vehicles, electric vehicle batteries, electric vehicle charging stations, or related infrastructure.

Child Immunization - blue

The Child Immunization Rider would block implementation of the CDC’s recommendation to add the COVID vaccine to the child and adolescent immunization schedule.

Red Flag Guns - red

The Red Flag Rider would block implementation of red flag laws or extreme risk protection orders that keep guns out of the hands of those prone to violence.

Oil and Gas Leasing - green

The Oil and Gas Leases Rider would stop any reduction in the number of oil and gas leases issued by the Secretary of the Interior.

Student Sex Discrimination - blue

The Student Sex Discrimination Rider would block the Department of Education from issuing a final rule to prevent sex discrimination and sex-based harassment at schools, as well as a final rule to clarify how all students can participate in athletics.

Scam Colleges - yellow

The Scam Colleges Rider would stop any relief under the Borrower Defense Rule for student loan borrowers who were scammed by their colleges.

Independent Contractors - green

The Independent Contractor Rider would keep in place a Trump-era rule that made it easier for employers to misclassify workers as independent contractors, removing them from minimum wage and other labor protections.

ACA Discrimination - blue

The ACA Discrimination Rider would block a rule that bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Junk Fees - yellow

The Junk Fees Rider would stop the administration from cracking down on junk fees in retirement investment advice.

Student Debt - green

The Student Debt Cancellation Rider would prohibit any broad-based student debt cancellation.

LGBTQI+ Foster Kids - red

The LGBTQI+ Foster Kids Rider would block a proposed rule that requires foster families to affirm a foster child’s LGBTQI+ identity.

Global Gag Rule - blue

The Global Gag Rule Rider would reinstate the global gag rule on nongovernmental organizations that receive U.S. assistance. This policy risks women’s health and lives by forcing organizations to choose between receiving global health assistance and providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.

Gas Stoves - red

The Gas Stoves Rider would prohibit the Consumer Product Safety Commission from stopping the use or sale of gas-powered stoves, cooktops, ranges, or ovens in the U.S., even if the product has been proved to cause harm.

Gun Violence EO - blue

The Gun Violence EO Rider would block administration and enforcement of President Biden’s Executive Order 14092 on reducing gun violence.

CRT - yellow

The CRT Rider would prohibit funding for critical race theory or any concepts associated with it.

Nicotine - blue

The Nicotine Rider would stop the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from proposing a rule to reduce cigarette nicotine levels to make them less addictive.

Mifepristone - green

The Mifepristone Rider would force back in place burdensome and medically unnecessary restrictions that the Food and Drug Administration lifted after extensive, evidence-based review, including in-person dispensing requirements, pharmacist dispensing, and more.

Pride Flags - blue

The Pride Flag Rider would prohibit pride flags from being flown at covered facilities.

Armed Forces Extremism - yellow

The Armed Forces Anti-Extremism Rider would block funding for the appointment of a deputy inspector general in the Defense Department whose job is to prevent and respond to supremacist, extremist, and criminal gang activities by members of the Armed Forces.

Climate EOs - green

The Climate EOs Rider would block all of President Biden's executive orders on climate change.

Ghost Guns - yellow

The Ghost Guns Rider would forbid implementation, enforcement, and legal defense of a rule to regulate ghost guns, a weapon of choice for criminals.

Same Sex Marriage - red

The Same-Sex Marriage Discrimination Rider would prohibit denial of funds to anyone who discriminates against a same-sex couple as long as they claim a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage should be a union of one man and one woman.

Census - yellow

The Census Rider would unconstitutionally exclude undocumented immigrants from apportionment counts -- chilling immigrant participation in the census and fomenting distrust in the survey.

Gun Confiscation - green

The Gun Confiscation Rider would require notification and hearing opportunities for gun owners prior to the confiscation of a firearm – putting law enforcement officers at risk.

Gender Affirming Care - red

The Gender Affirming Care Rider would ban funding for surgical procedures or hormone therapies for gender affirming care.

Minsinformation - green

The Misinformation Rider would bar funds from being used to classify any communication by a U.S. person as misinformation, disinformation, or malinformation.

IRS Free Filing - yellow

The IRS Free Filing Prohibition Rider would prohibit the IRS from developing free tax filing software, without prior approval from the key financial committees in Congress, that would allow any taxpayer to file their taxes for free.

Climate Crisis - green

The Climate Crisis Rider would block funds to enforce Executive Order 14008, which puts the climate crisis at the center of U.S. foreign policy and national security strategy and calls for a whole-of-government response.

Shell Companies - blue

The Shell Companies Rider would block the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network from issuing or implementing reporting rules that would allow law enforcement to scrutinize shell companies that might be implicated in financial crimes and threats to national security.

COVID Vaccines - yellow

The COVID Vaccine Rider would block funding to enforce any COVID-19 vaccine mandates or passports.

Trans Prisoners - green

The Trans Prisoners Rider would prevent the Bureau of Prisons from assigning a transgender prisoner to a facility consistent with their gender identity.

Sleazy Car Dealers - blue

The Sleazy Car Dealers Rider would block an FTC rule that requires auto dealers to make accurate pricing disclosures in their ads and sales discussions, obtain the customer’s informed consent for all charges, and keep records of ads and customer transactions.

Women's Health Travel - red

The Women’s Health Travel Rider would ban funding for travel expenses for reproductive health care needs for military servicemembers and their families.

Defense Contractor Emissions - green

The Defense Contractor Climate Emissions Rider would block a rule to require federal defense contractors to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related financial risks and set science-based targets to reduce their emissions.

DEI - red

The DEI Rider would defund all offices of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Justice40 - blue

The Justice40 Rider would block the Energy Department’s Justice40 initiative, which directs 40% of certain federal investments to flow to disadvantaged communities. These include clean energy, energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, and clean water infrastructure development.

Small Biz Lending - red

The Small Business Lending Rider would block Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the collection of data on lending to women and minority-owned businesses to ensure fair lending practices.

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Hundreds of organizations have come together under the umbrella of the Clean Budget Coalition to oppose poison pills and other toxic amendments in the annual spending bills. We’re calling on Congress to pass clean bills by the March 1 and March 8 deadlines that fully fund the programs and services we all count on.



Clean Budget News & Resources (FY 2024)

Congress: Pass a Clean Budget

Feb 21, 2024 - - 1
Congress: Pass a Clean Budget

Leaders from the Clean Budget Coalition spoke about the danger of poison pill riders and the need to pass a clean federal budget.

Feb 20, 2024 - - 8
Nearly 200 Groups Call for Clean Spending Bills

In this pivotal moment in the appropriations process, we again ask that you prioritize both appropriate funding levels and keeping all new poison pill policy riders out of the bills. And while our coalition thoroughly appreciates the many Members of Congress who have pushed and fought for a clean FY24 budget thus far, it’s especially important to maintain solidarity in the face of an unfortunate reality: once a poison pill rider is included in an iteration of the appropriations package, it becomes almost impossible to remove it from future packages. Neither legacy riders nor new poison pills represent the will of the American people, but instead harmful special interest groups that wish to circumvent the legislative process through this misguided budgetary practice.

Feb 16, 2024 - - 5
No Red-Meat Riders, House GOP Appropriators Tell Hardliners

House Republican appropriators reportedly told hardliners in their conference on Wednesday that “they have no chance of exacting the kinds of ‘poison pill’ riders that the House approved in GOP-only spending bills,” and urged conservatives to “drop their focus on other poison-pill amendments.” Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen and co-chair of the Clean Budget Coalition, released the following statement: “Republican appropriators were right to school their caucus in this manner. All harmful poison pills must be dropped."

Feb 16, 2024 - - 0
Inside a Conservative Clash with Johnson

This was a long meeting with spats of yelling. But the basic gist is this — appropriators effectively told the hardline conservatives that they have no chance of exacting the kinds of “poison pill” riders that the House approved in GOP-only spending bills. The cardinals argued that a government shutdown was idiotic and would only hurt House Republicans. Republican leaders and appropriators have urged conservatives to focus on one or two achievable goals — something modest on border security, for example — and to drop their focus on other poison-pill amendments. House and Senate appropriators have been negotiating daily on the bills, lawmakers and aides said.

Feb 15, 2024 - - 0
The Government Funding Fight Is About to Come Back with a Vengeance

“The big stumbling block will be if they’re insisting — which they shouldn’t — on the riders, which are unacceptable,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), her party’s top appropriator in the House, said during a brief interview on Wednesday. “We’re working. We’re working hard,” she added. With the second half of current funding set to expire on March 8, there’s almost no political will on the Hill to delay again.

Feb 12, 2024 - - 0
Congress Agrees on How Much to Spend — But Not on How to Spend It

The Democratic-controlled Senate largely wrote its spending bills to adhere to Biden and McCarthy’s deal. The Republican-run House wrote its bills planning for steep funding cuts, and the House also included dozens of contentious policy provisions — called “riders” because they ride along in often unrelated legislation. House Republicans pursued non-spending-related policy riders to prevent federal agencies from implementing Biden administration climate change rules, policies that conservatives say over-regulate the energy and manufacturing industries, and to prohibit any federal resources from going to Planned Parenthood and other health care providers who perform abortion procedures. The House GOP also pursued legislation to stop U.S. embassies from flying LGBTQ pride flags and to ban drag performers on military bases.

Feb 08, 2024 - - 2
Human Rights Campaign, ACLU Join 63 Other Organizations Urging Congressional Leaders to Continue to Push Back Against...

The Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, and 63 other organizations from across the country this week issued a joint letter calling on Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to continue to rally their pro-equality memberships in opposition to a slate of anti-LGBTQ+ riders that have been attached to annual appropriations bills. These riders, advanced by the anti-equality majority in the House of Representatives and supported by Speaker Mike Johnson, would impose a flood of harsh new forms of discrimination on the LGBTQ+ community, further pushing into the margins an already marginalized – but growing – portion of the populace purely on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Feb 07, 2024 - - 2
100+ Organizations Urge Congress to Reject Anti-Environmental Poison Pill Riders in FY24 Appropriations Bills

The League of Conservation Voters and Natural Resources Defense Council led more than 100 groups in sending the below letter to congressional leaders and Members of Congress urging them to reject the inclusion of all anti-environmental poison pill policy riders in FY24 appropriations bills.