Clean Budget News & Resources FY 2019
This resource bank contains FY 2019 budget cycle news articles, op-eds, editorials, blogs, letters to the editor, press releases, fact sheets, sign-on letters and other resources related to rescissions and riders. Please use the controls below to search, sort, filter and share.
The Senate voted Thursday to block a measure by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would have repealed former President Barack Obama’s landmark water pollution rule. The amendment would have prohibited funding in a major spending bill from being used by the Army Corps of Engineers to enforce the Clean Water Rule, also known as Waters of the United States. The rule was developed alongside the Environmental Protection Agency. Multiple federal courts have put it on hold, and the Trump administration is working to repeal it. Senators voted 62 to 34 to table the amendment, effectively blocking it. Republicans have consistently opposed the water rule, but 20 GOP senators voted with most Democrats block Lee’s amendment, since it would break a deal that Senate Appropriations Committee leaders made to avoid controversial policy provisions in spending bills.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski is touting her Interior and environment budget bill as much for the process behind it as what’s in it. Alaska’s senior senator emphasized in a June 14 call with reporters that the $35.8 billion fiscal year 2019 discretionary spending bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier that day, which she said is a sign that Congress might finally be returning to regular order when it comes to funding the government. “We had to stand down on some of the controversial provisions that have been included in years past that have been the poison pills,” Murkowski said further.
The Senate rejected a key White House priority Wednesday when it defeated a bill to claw back about $15 billion in previously appropriated government funding. A procedural vote on the rescission package failed on 48-50 vote, an embarrassing defeat for Senate GOP leaders and the Trump administration. The vote on the measure, which already passed the House, was held open for 90 minutes while GOP leaders worked to persuade all their members to back it. But as Capitol officials readied for Vice President Mike Pence to arrive to break a possible tie vote, Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, unexpectedly emerged from the Republican cloakroom to vote against the bill. His opposition, coupled with a "no" vote from Sen. Susan Collins, the moderate Republican from Maine, sunk the bill.
The Appropriations Committee wisely avoided controversy on the Energy and Water Appropriations Act by rejecting the inclusion of harmful riders from the House bill and rejecting damaging cuts proposed by the administration. However, Sec. 304 of the bill is an invitation for contentiousness. This section would unwisely alter our nation’s nuclear waste policies to prioritize the misguided aim of getting an interim spent fuel storage facility up and running as soon as possible at the expense of durable, lasting solutions like publicly accepted and scientifically defensible repository disposal. This provision has no place in an appropriations bill.
President Trump's plan to claw back billions of dollars in previously approved government spending is facing a likely death in the Senate as lawmakers eye a vote this week. Senators have until Friday if they want to pass the package to claw back roughly $15 billion in spending with only a simple majority that allows them to avoid a Democratic filibuster. The measure narrowly cleared the House last week.
The Senate will have a vote early this evening to take up a three-bill package, dubbed a minibus, that contains the $43.7 billion fiscal 2019 energy and water spending. The House passed its $44.7 billion version of the legislation two weeks ago. Later in the week, the Senate is likely to turn to a more contentious bill that would rescind $14.7 billion in unspent funding from previous years, including $4 billion in cuts from DOE technology loan programs, an effort created by an Obama-era economic recovery package. Members from both parties are eyeing this week's floor debate on the minibus to set the tone for the remainder of the appropriations process, which in the Senate has advanced with bipartisan support over a truce to avoid "poison pill" amendments, at least in committee.
The Senate this year has abandoned the perennial brawls over policy riders that uprooted its regular spending process for nearly a decade, aiming to avoid another paralyzing funding fight this fall. In a pact that’s gone largely unnoticed on Capitol Hill, senators of both parties have so far crafted bills that are virtually free of so-called poison pill riders that usually entangle the annual spending bills. The motivation for the Senate’s uncommonly bipartisan process is the threat of a government shutdown just weeks before the midterm elections. The newfound accord is a show of bargaining, not brinkmanship. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the lead negotiator for Democrats, heralded the development as a return to “old school” appropriations work.
A House Appropriations subcommittee today approved a measure that would trim Labor Department and National Labor Relations Board funding. The legislation would provide $12.1 billion in discretionary funding for the DOL, about 7 percent less then enacted by Congress last year. The bill would give the NLRB a 5 percent funding haircut, reducing its allotment to $261.3 million. The measure also includes a policy rider to undo a controversial Obama-era NLRB decision expanding joint employer liability for businesses in staffing, franchise, and other contractual relationships. The NLRB is currently working on a regulation to address the decision, which made it easier to tag multiple businesses as joint employers for collective bargaining purposes. Another rider would bar the NLRB from exercising jurisdiction at Indian casinos and other businesses on tribal lands.
A series of House Appropriations Committee bills at various stages of approval include anti-choice provisions seeking to restrict access to reproductive health care and contraception both domestically and across the globe. Most critically, the House Appropriations subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education released its draft of the agencies’ budgets for fiscal year 2019, which begins Oct. 1. The bill includes provisions that would cut all Title X family planning and Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program funding from the 2019 budget. The bill passed through subcommittee markup Friday morning, however, committee Democrats have labeled the anti-choice provisions “riders” and “poison pills” and promised to introduce amendments during full committee markups to drop them from the version of the bill that would be sent to the House floor.
The American people deserve a clean budget that works for all. The budget appropriations process should not be hijacked by special interests sneaking their policy wish lists into unrelated funding measures. Passing controversial and harmful policy through this back-door procedure is not only an inappropriate abuse of the budget process; it’s also a threat to public well-being and the integrity of our democracy.
Congress is hashing out the next budget. Disappointingly, many legislators are once again trying to use the budget to sneak in harmful repeals of and changes to consumer protections. For example, one policy proposal added to the budget as a so-called rider, would keep the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from holding companies like Wells Fargo, Equifax, and predatory payday lenders accountable when they cheat us. Why use the budget for matters unrelated to spending? Because repeals and changes to important protections can’t pass on their own. Hopefully, the entire Texas Congressional delegation will stand up for a clean budget that sticks to spending, which after all is the purpose of a budget.
The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a $23.4 billion financial services spending bill that includes a boost to IRS funding. But Democrats criticized the bill. They were upset by a number of riders in the measure — including one that would largely prevent the IRS from using funds to enforce a law barring churches from endorsing political candidates — and were bothered by the lack of funds for direct assistance to state election integrity efforts.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) noted the minibus would be the first spending bills to hit the floor this year and framed it as a test of whether the Senate could move appropriations measures without running into partisan fights over policy riders. "I hope we can be disciplined enough to not put riders on appropriations bills that should be on authorization bills," Shelby said yesterday. The Senate's top Democratic appropriator, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, has said he is working with Shelby to eliminate "poison pill" riders.
Senate appropriators quickly advanced by voice vote this morning a $35.9 billion fiscal 2019 spending bill for EPA, the Interior Department and related agencies, with bipartisan consensus and without any new "poison pill riders." While the bill does not include any new policy riders, it continues a few from the fiscal 2018 enacted bill, which Udall expressed disappointment over.
Senate Republicans are ridding a key spending bill of controversial environmental provisions opposed by Democrats in an attempt to avoid the annual year-end budget pileup. Tuesday’s move by Sen. Lisa Murkowski extends an olive branch to Democrats and could allow the first floor debate on a key spending bill for the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency since former President Barack Obama’s first year in office. It’s all part of an effort to avoid a catchall “omnibus” spending bill. Republicans dropped a policy provision from previous years, for instance, that would have weakened a new government rule limiting methane waste from gas and oil drilling on public lands. It’s one of several “riders” opposed by Democrats and environmental groups that have been included in the measure in past years, only to get stripped-out in end-stage negotiations.
The GOP-controlled House on Friday passed a $145 billion spending bill funding Energy Department and veterans' programs for the upcoming budget year. Approval of the measure came over the opposition of Democrats on a 235-179 vote that sent the three-bill bundle to the Senate, where action is expected to be more bipartisan. Democrats, however, mostly opposed the bill because on unrelated conservative policy "riders" attached by Republicans such as language killing clean water rules and permitting firearms to be carried on federal property controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers. "This bill is full of poison pill riders that will ultimately make our time here a total waste," said Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif. Democrats also said that the measure sets up cuts in future legislation to programs they support. Future packages of poison pill-laden spending bills, they promise, will be more difficult to pass as GOP support ebbs. It's not clear how many further appropriations packages will be able to pass the chamber.
A nearly $15 billion package of spending cuts is now in the Senate’s court after the House late Thursday voted 210-206 to pass the “rescissions” measure. Most Republicans voted to narrowly put the cuts package over the top, though there were 19 GOP defections. Democrats voted unanimously against the measure. The $14.7 billion collection of cuts from unspent funding will now head to the Senate, where some Republicans, such as Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have sounded skeptical of the rescissions effort. Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Interior-Environment Subcommittee, said Thursday that she and other GOP appropriators think the White House is intruding on the committee’s turf.
A rescission package (a bill to take away previously appropriated funds) just passed the House of Representatives and since it’s an idea from this administration, its harmful to everyday Americans and based on twisted facts, yet also poorly conceived and ineffective at its mission. Ostensibly that mission is to cut federal spending, but the package won’t make a dent in the federal deficit. Instead it cuts programs, including those that help protect our health and environment.
Opponents of the risk-based capital rule want a two-year delay of its implementation. They’re serious enough about it that they’ve tucked it into two bills so far – House legislation updating the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and the FY19 Financial Services appropriations bill. Of course, this legislative sleight-of-hand is nothing new. It’s part of a time-honored tradition to sneak things into must-pass legislation. It used to be called earmarks – specific projects that members of Congress snuck into the annual appropriations measures. After some allegations that House members were selling projects for their own benefit, Congress adopted rules stating that earmarks needed to be identified. And so, House rules required each project to be listed, along with the member of Congress who sponsored it. When that wasn’t “clean” enough for GOP House members, they supposedly banned earmarks altogether (of course, members have found other ways to ensure that money goes to their favorite projects). But that ban had no impact on so-called “legislative riders,” which don’t specify funding for a project, but instead require agencies to take certain actions or prohibit them from taking certain actions.
The House narrowly approved a rescissions package from the White House that aims to cancel billions in unspent funds from the prior fiscal year, much of which would not have been spent otherwise. The vote was 210-206.
The Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee today approved $17.7 billion in budgetary resources for the FAA in Fiscal Year 2019, matching the total funding signed off last month by the committee’s counterpart in the House. The budget is included in a $71.4 billion transportation, housing and urban development (THUD) appropriations bill for FY2019. Both THUD committee chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine) and ranking Democrat Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) touted the bill as a bipartisan effort that avoids “poison pills” or controversial riders.
House Republicans in the Appropriations Committee today passed legislation to fund the Department of the Interior for 2019 that includes riders to strip Endangered Species Act protection from gray wolves nationwide, delay protections for sage grouse and grizzly bears, and prohibit any federal agency from protecting public health and wildlife from toxic lead ammunition.
The House is expected to vote Thursday on a White House proposal to claw back roughly $15 billion in previously approved government spending. The House Rules Committee added the revised rescissions package to its schedule for Wednesday afternoon, a day after the White House sent the latest package to Capitol Hill. The bill was added to the House floor schedule for this week, with a GOP aide confirming to The Hill that the package would receive a vote Thursday.
House Democratic leaders are pushing back against a GOP spending package slated for a floor vote this week, potentially forcing Republican leaders into a last-minute vote scramble while undercutting their strategy to avoid a fiscal showdown this fall. Democratic leaders sent a letter to rank-and-file members Tuesday urging them to block the three-bill spending bundle, H.R. 5895 (115) — which would mean rejecting funding for popular programs like Veterans Affairs and the Army Corps of Engineers — to gain leverage in future funding fights. Democrats had already objected to a spate of policy riders in the Energy Department’s section in the bill, such as a provision to allow firearms at Army Corps facilities. But the other two bills in the package — Military Construction-VA and Legislative Branch — had been approved unanimously by the House’s spending panel.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that he will cancel the August recess, citing "historic obstruction" by Democrats. “Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled," McConnell said in a statement.