Congress Must Pass a Clean Budget with No Poison Pill Riders or Toxic Amendments
Every year, Congress must pass a set of spending bills to fund the services and safeguards that protect our families and communities. In recent years, lawmakers have tried to attach 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 could not become law on their own merits. Some of them attack women’s health, some fuel political corruption, some harm our environment, and much more.
Dozens of organizations have joined together to form the Clean Budget Coalition in opposition to poison pill appropriations riders and other toxic amendments to spending bills. We’re calling on lawmakers to pass clean spending bills by the Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 deadlines that fully fund the programs and services that all of us count on.
Clean Budget News & Resources (FY 2024)
Leaders of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus are softening their hard line on government spending, fearing they'll be sidelined in the next government shutdown fight if they stick to implausible demands. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., the group's chairman, said he now supports the $1.59 trillion overall spending level negotiated between President Joe Biden and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, backing off the $1.471 trillion level that conservatives had been demanding. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the Appropriations Committee chair, said the Biden-McCarthy deal must be honored in its entirety. “House Republicans have got to get back to the full level of resources in the spending agreement they negotiated and abandon the radical poison pills they’ve demanded — to restrict access to medication abortion nationwide and so much more — so that we can move forward on reasonable, bipartisan full-year spending bills,” she said. There's a long way to go to prevent a lapse and a shutdown.
House Republicans have added more than 250 new poison pill policy riders as floor amendments to their draft spending bills, the Clean Budget Coalition has found. This brings the total number of new poison pills across all 12 spending bills drafted by House Republicans to around 560. “Bills with hundreds of outrageous poison pills are not a serious basis for negotiations,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen and co-chair of the Clean Budget Coalition. “The White House, Senate Democrats, and even Senate Republicans have repeatedly and emphatically rejected harmful riders in federal spending legislation. With less than 20 legislative days until the next funding deadline, House Republicans are still wasting precious time on far-right fantasies that can’t and won’t become law.”
Speaker Mike Johnson may have saved Christmas on Capitol Hill, but Congress will be paying for it in the new year. For the first time in roughly a decade, Washington faces no government spending deadline in December. That’s thanks to Johnson, who prevented a shutdown with a gambit designed to spare his party the type of legislative grab bag that conservatives often deride as a “Christmas tree.” The House and Senate are far from off the hook. Johnson has promised he won’t put another “clean” funding bill on the floor, increasing the chances of a shutdown after the next spending deadlines on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2. The House GOP is so bitterly divided that some lawmakers worry they’ll engage in the same last-minute self-sabotage that plagued them this fall. Spending is only one headache that Congress faces in the coming months. Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will duel over a half-dozen other major priorities, including Israel and Ukraine aid, reauthorization of foreign surveillance powers, border security and stalled military promotions. Progress on Ukraine, border and other fronts could in theory ease negotiations to avoid a shutdown next year. But with no signs that House Republicans are prepared to put weeks of self-inflicted drama behind them, lawmakers are preparing for a winter of woes.
We urge you to vote to remove all of the anti-democratic policy riders from the CJS appropriations bill and take action to strengthen – not weaken – a democracy for all the people. The existing and proposed radical riders would deeply damage our already fragile democracy by restricting access to voting, disarming our defenses against foreign influence over U.S. elections, and severely compromising law enforcement anti-corruption investigations.
Congress should reject the U.S. House Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill for fiscal year 2024, which is expected to be voted on this week, 105 groups in the Clean Budget Coalition said in a letter sent today. “The FY24 FSGG bill is an unredeemable, unserious piece of legislation and we urge all Members to vote against it. It is also another example of overreaching abuse of the appropriations process, as all of the funding bills proposed by the GOP House include poison pill riders and proposed amendments that are simply inappropriate,” the letter reads.
The FY24 FSGG bill is an unredeemable, unserious piece of legislation and we urge all Members to vote against it. It is also another example of overreaching abuse of the appropriations process, as all of the funding bills proposed by the GOP House include poison pill riders and proposed amendments that are simply inappropriate. The House should dispense with the theater of partisanship for its own sake and take guidance from the Senate, which last week passed a three-bill appropriations package with 85 votes. Voters deserve a Congress that can sit down and come to a reasonable agreement for the greater good, and we hope that quickly moving past the FY 24 FSGG bill will bring Congress closer to that outcome.
House Democrats were already attacking swing-district Republicans over conservative funding bills before Kevin McCarthy lost the speakership. Speaker Mike Johnson is giving them even more fodder. The Louisiana Republican is staking his legislative reputation on churning through the full stack of a dozen annual funding bills, many of them including conservative riders like a national ban on mail-order abortion pills.
House Republicans unveiled a revised version of their fiscal 2024 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that includes a number of new conservative social policy riders related to abortion, gun control and diversity.