Clean Budget News & Resources (FY 2021)
Lawmakers have to walk and chew gum at the same time by writing relief packages and regular spending bills. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey last month circulated preliminary spending allocations to the panel leaders who will draft the fiscal 2021 spending bills. Lawmakers are already debating and drafting those bills, albeit from home and over emails, video chats, and phone calls, so they can move forward as soon as they are able to. Overall funding levels were decided in a hard fought agreement reached in 2019. That agreement also included a bipartisan commitment to keep poison pill policy riders out of the process, and that should mean removing poison pill policy riders that were added into previous packages. As lawmakers fight to prevent further cuts and boost funding for human needs amid the pandemic, appropriators should make it a top priority to remove old poison pill policy riders from past budget cycles that never should have been added into spending bills in the first place. These measures are known as legacy riders. They stick around year after year, sometimes for decades, until Congress proactively removes them, all the while leaving a toxic legacy that damages our environment, harms public health, and fuels political corruption, depending on what each rider does. Dozens of these unpopular and controversial measures were added into past spending bills with no public debate by conservatives as special favors for ideological extremists and big corporations.
The Clean Budget Coalition, an alliance of labor, scientific, consumer, research, good government, faith, civil rights, community, health, environmental, and public interest groups, writes you to urge FY21 appropriations bills that are free from policy riders that harm the public. No appropriations titles, package of bills, or continuing resolutions (should that be deemed the appropriate path to continue funding the government), should move forward if they contain poison pill policy riders that go against the public interest. Unfortunately, such poison pill riders have existed as favors to corporate and special interests in previous appropriations cycles and therefore a set of “legacy poison pills,” must be removed from the FY21 appropriations bills. We ask that you take that stance as Congress processes the FY21 appropriations bills—keeping out new policy riders that would harm the public as well as removing those that have become embedded.