Congress Must Pass a Clean Budget With No Poison Pill Riders
More Than 260 Organizations Are Calling for Clean Spending Bills With No Poison Pills
Every year, Congress must pass a series of budget and spending bills to fund the services and safeguards that protect our families and communities. In recent years, 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 could not become law on their own merits. More than 260 organizations have joined together to form the Clean Budget Coalition in opposition to these poison pills. We’re calling on federal lawmakers to pass a clean budget with no harmful riders. FY 2018 funding expires on Sept. 30, 2018. Follow us @regsrock.
Luckily, the House will have a chance to take a step back in the right direction this week. Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) has offered an amendment to strike the rider that will be voted in the funding package this year, offering a clear chance for improvement in the area. This morass of bad rules and worsening enforcement seem to have led to the IRS throwing up its hands and saying, “There is nothing we can do!” But the least they could do is to not make the situation worse.
Representatives from other states have inserted seven provisions, known as riders, into the 2019 federal appropriations bill that would alter laws passed by the District's elected officials. Meddling in D.C. affairs (or trying to) via the budget bill is an annual tradition, but Congress watchers say this year's attempts are more numerous than ever. "We've never seen this many riders in a House bill before," says Benjamin Fritsch, the communications director for Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. The latest two riders, introduced on Wednesday, are aimed at curbing D.C.'s ability to enact a local individual health insurance mandate.
A Republican amendment to a House-passed spending bill package that would ban the District of Columbia from implementing an individual health insurance coverage requirement is unlikely to gain steam as the Senate prepares to take up a similar measure. It’s not clear yet if any Senate Republicans will introduce a similar amendment when the Financial Services and Interior-Environment package (HR 6147) reaches the Senate floor, but it would likely face fierce minority opposition in the chamber, where Democrats are defending the 2010 health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152) at every opportunity.
Federal agencies like the EPA and the Department of the Interior play a vital role in protecting public health and the environment. In a series of amendments to their appropriations bill, the House of Representatives has undercut this mission, putting the public at greater risk from environmental threats. These ideological amendments ignore science and betray the communities that depend on strong science-based environment and public health protections.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Interior Appropriations bill — a massive piece of legislation that funds a wide range of government programs and agencies, including the National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. Every year, the Interior bill becomes a vehicle for all manner of controversial riders that impact our nation’s wildlife. This year was certainly no exception. But what’s new this cycle is a tucked-away provision that would adversely affect some of our most iconic and treasured animals: wild horses that embody a spirit of freedom for so many Americans.