Congress Must Pass a Clean Budget With No Poison Pill Riders
More Than 260 Organizations Are Calling for a Clean Budget and No Rescissions
Every year, Congress must pass a series of budget and appropriations bills to fund the services and safeguards that protect our families and communities. In recent years, Republican lawmakers have threatened to attach hundreds of harmful policy riders to this legislation that would weaken, repeal or block essential public protections.
Most of these measures are special favors for big corporations and ideological extremists that have nothing to do with funding our government and are too controversial to become law on their own merits. As such, these measures have no place in budget and spending legislation.
This year, in addition to threatening the budget process with harmful riders, the White House is proposing rescissions that would claw back funds already appropriated in the omnibus spending package for FY 2018 — reneging on a bipartisan agreement that took more than 15 months to pass. Like poison pill riders, rescissions cater to ideological extremists, represent a breach of regular order and threaten Congress’ ability to reach bipartisan spending agreements.
More than 260 organizations have joined together to form the Clean Budget Coalition. We’re calling on Congress and the White House to abandon their proposed rescissions and pass a clean budget with no harmful riders, one that funds our communities and protects our families.
FY 2018 funding expires on Sept. 30, 2018. Follow us on Twitter @regsrock.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved bills to fund the USDA, FDA and Army Corps of Engineers that steer clear of environmental issues addressed by the House’s versions of those same spending bills. Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal 2019 energy and water spending bill with a rider to repeal the “waters of the U.S.” rule published by EPA in 2015, prompting criticism from Democrats and environmental groups. The Senate energy and water (E&W) bill approved Thursday contained no such rider.
When President Trump finally signed a full funding package in March with almost half of the funding year already over, we knew there were reasons to keep resisting despite the bill’s progressive wins. It wasn’t long before Trump and Congress proved us right. Trump now wants to revisit the March deal and take money away from basic needs programs like children’s health care. PFAW and allies are also urging Congress to abandon a perennial GOP favorite—poison pill policy riders.
Some Delta groups and local lawmakers are decrying language in a U.S. House of Representatives spending bill that would make the California WaterFix immune from judicial review. The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations added a rider to its funding requests for the 2018-19 fiscal year specifically regarding the long-debated plan to pump water from the Delta to customers in the Bay Area and Southern California.
Right now, the annual federal budgeting process faces threats on two fronts, both of which could sabotage Congress’ ability to reach spending deals that keep our government open and functioning. Appropriations subcommittees in the House of Representatives have begun marking up spending bills for fiscal year 2019 and moving them out of committee. One perennial threat to the budget process is that appropriators may try to add dozens of partisan poison pill riders — special favors for big corporations and ideological extremists that have nothing to do with funding our government — into these spending bills. It’s bad enough that Congress has to contend with poison pill riders that could sabotage the next spending agreement, but Congress also is facing a threat from the White House that would unravel previous ones. White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney recently proposed a set of rescissions on behalf of President Trump. These rollbacks of already allocated funding for key programs and policies would take back up to $15 billion from previously approved spending arrangements, almost half of which comes out of rainy day funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The Trump administration is eyeing tweaks to its massive spending cuts proposal as it looks to court votes from skeptical Republicans on Capitol Hill, according to multiple GOP aides close to the legislation. The White House is already in talks about canceling cutbacks for a wastewater treatment program at the EPA, according to two Republicans familiar with the discussions. The administration might also scale back cuts for Ebola funding and disaster relief, the aides said.