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.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that President Trump will not sign a stopgap spending bill over concerns about border security, a decision that significantly increases the risk of a government shutdown. “The president informed us that he will not sign the bill,” Ryan told reporters at the White House after meeting with Trump. Trump’s choice effectively torpedoes a spending bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8, but does not provide additional funding for his long-desired wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Lawmakers have until the end of Friday to reach a new agreement or funding will lapse for the Department of Homeland Security and six other government agencies.
The Senate approved a seven-week funding bill on Wednesday, preventing a partial government shutdown that was expected to begin on Saturday. Senators passed the legislation by voice vote, which represented the final item on the Senate's to-do list as they wrap up their work for the year this week. It still needs to pass the House, which returned to Washington on Wednesday night, and be signed by President Trump. Republican senators say that while they believe Trump is unhappy with Congress passing a short-term fix, they believe he will sign it because they were able to keep other controversial policy riders off of it. "I think the message is don't add anything else to it," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican. "He's not happy about that [a continuing resolution] but he understands the reality." The stopgap bill, which will fund roughly 25 percent of the federal government, kicks the funding deadline from Dec. 21 to Feb. 8, avoiding dragging a partial shutdown fight into the Christmas holiday. A vote on the bill was temporarily held up Wednesday over a fight on whether or not to include a land and water measure, which has been stalled amid negotiations for months. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is also pushing for legislation benefiting miners to be attached to the short-term spending package.
McConnnell’s CR at this point doesn’t include any other riders, amendments or anomalies, making it easier to clear the Senate and likely the House. But it’s unclear what other amendments or anomalies members will try to attach to the CR over the next two days.
Two leading US senators on Wednesday urged Senate leaders not to include controversial legislation targeting boycotters of Israel in an end-of-year spending bill that must pass to keep the government running. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Bernie Sanders, both Jewish, warned that including the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” in the bill would infringe upon free speech and violate Senate officials’ commitment to “oppose controversial riders on appropriations bills.”
Americans have a clear message to Washington as the government hurtles toward a partial shutdown on Friday: Don't. By a double-digit margin, 54 percent to 29 percent, those surveyed in a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll say they oppose the shutdown that President Trump has threatened if Congress doesn't agree to his demand for $5 billion in funding for a border wall. Who would bear the blame? By nearly 2-1, Americans would blame Trump and the Republicans, not congressional Democrats. Forty-three percent would blame the president and the GOP, while 24 percent would hold congressional Democrats responsible. Thirty percent would blame both sides equally responsible.
Depending on what happens in the next few weeks, 2019 could kick off with a government shutdown. Congressional Democrats and Trump have dug in their heels over the president's demand for border wall funding, which could lead to a late-year shutdown if they fail to reach a deal by December 21. Trump has demanded $5 billion, but Democrats want to maintain last year’s funding levels for Homeland Security, which would provide $1.3 billion in funds to fencing. The new year could feasibly roll in with a partial government shutdown if the sides fail to reach a compromise, but there are already discussions underway for short-term stopgaps to push the fight into January. Once the 2019 spending fight ends, attention will immediately turn toward fiscal 2020, where a bevy of controversies await Congress. First, Democrats and Republicans will have to agree to new spending caps, without which there would be sharp spending cuts under the terms of the Budget Control Act. Congress is expected to give moderate boosts to both defense and non-defense spending. In the House, incoming Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) has said that she wants to follow the example the Senate set this year and exclude so-called poison pills--controversial policy riders--from the appropriations process. Once topline spending numbers are agreed upon, that could ease the way for a fairly swift appropriations process.
As Congress prepares to leave town in the coming days, Democrats are opposing efforts to attach the legislation to a year-end government funding bill. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Waters' counterpart at the Senate Banking Committee, is trying to stop the bill from being attached to must-pass government funding legislation, which in past years has been a vehicle for riders to tweak financial regulation." Sen. Brown strongly opposes efforts to stuff dozens of special interest provisions into the year-end spending bill," said his Banking Committee spokesperson, Ashley Lewis.
Congressional aides on both sides of the aisle say they don’t see how the appropriations impasse ends without a partial government shutdown just in time for Christmas Eve. President Donald Trump signed a continuing resolution into law Friday that would change the expiration date of the stopgap measure enacted before the midterm elections to Dec. 21. But he wasted little time in taking aim at Democratic leaders for “playing political games” on border security funding, even as he prepares to sit down with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York in the Oval Office Tuesday. While many lawmakers are publicly expressing confidence a shutdown will be avoided, aides speaking on condition of anonymity said there is a widespread fear that the talks will collapse and lead to a shutdown. At the same time, there appears to be little appetite for a shutdown among Democrats and Republicans in Congress, especially days before Christmas and weeks before Democrats take control of the House. Republicans have taken the blame for shutdowns in 1995-1996, and again in 2013.
The long awaited end of year budget battle has arrived, and as usual it is coming down to the wire. You may have heard that the fight is over funding for the border wall called for by President Trump. But there is another key set of sticking points standing in the way of a bipartisan deal. They are known as poison pill riders, which are harmful and controversial measures that have nothing to do with funding our government. Some lawmakers try to sneak poison pill riders into budget and appropriations bills, thus undemocratically bypassing the normal legislative process.
The U.S. Congress on Thursday approved a two-week stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown, setting up a potential showdown over President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall later this month. Without action by Congress, funding for several federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, State Department and Department of Homeland Security, had been set to expire this week. The stopgap bill extends funding through Dec. 21.
Congressional leaders and White House officials agreed Monday to extend a government funding deadline by two weeks, until Dec. 21, setting up the possibility of a shutdown showdown just ahead of Christmas. The decision, confirmed by aides involved in the talks, was made because of the observances surrounding the death of former president George H.W. Bush. The former president will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda ahead of a service at Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday. The House has canceled all votes for this week. The current deadline is midnight on Friday, Dec. 7. The House and Senate are expected to approve the new deadline at some point this week. That could be done in the House by unanimous consent, without lawmakers present to vote.
Congress is expected to temporarily put off a funding fight this week that could have forced agencies, including EPA and the Interior Department, to shutter as the nation mourns the late President George H.W. Bush. Congressional leaders are hoping to put off a partial government shutdown ahead of Friday's deadline by passing a one- to two-week continuing resolution. With almost a quarter of the House not coming back in January, lawmakers are eager to wrap up work as soon as possible. Neither party wants to push the fight into next year. Lawmakers are eyeing an omnibus that would contain all seven of the unfinished fiscal 2019 spending measures, including Interior-EPA, Commerce-Justice-Science, Homeland Security, Transportation-HUD and State-Foreign Operations. Several spending bills, including for Energy-Water, were signed into law before Election Day. But those negotiations have been hobbled by the White House's insistence that the bill contain $5 billion in funding for border wall security sought by Trump. Appropriators have said the other spending bills are ready to move, devoid of most controversial riders, once the border funding fight is resolved.
As a lame-duck Congress heads into its dwindling session, legislators are being forced to reckon with the continuing resolutions passed to fund government activities earlier this year: They expire on December 7, at which point Congress needs to pass a real appropriations bill to keep the government open. Unfortunately, Democrats and Republicans are at loggerheads over what’s going to be in that bill — and the result could be a partial government shutdown. Again. Congress must take up seven separate spending bills – each with its own riders and heated debate — and get them signed by the president.
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, and leaders from the Clean Budget Coalition are calling on Congress to reject partisan, poison pills attached to the December spending bills. In a conference call recorded Thursday afternoon, Leahy and coalition leaders discussed the threat posed by harmful ideological and corporate policy riders that do not belong in federal funding legislation. Congress must act by Dec. 7 to avoid a partial government shutdown.
A diverse array of groups in the Clean Budget Coalition sent a letter today urging members of Congress to remove all of the partisan, poison pill policy riders from the December appropriations bills. While most of the government is funded for fiscal year 2019, a package of four appropriations bills has been stuck in conference committee negotiations since September, and Congress must act by Dec. 7 to avoid a partial government shutdown.
Time and time again, members of Congress attempt to quietly slip in corporate special interest wish list items that couldn’t pass as standalone legislation into must-pass funding packages as poison pill riders, and our champions have stood firm in opposition. We ask that you take that stance as Congress processes the remaining FY19 appropriations bills.
Lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week without an agreement on a year-end spending package that would wrap up seven unfinished bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Reaching a deal would require a lot of work in a very short period of time. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session for only eight legislative days before a stopgap funding law runs dry on Dec. 7. If no new package is passed by then, Congress would need another continuing resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown. The outstanding bills for fiscal 2019 encompass about 25 percent of the year’s $1.244 trillion in discretionary spending subject to budget limits. But the two parties are as divided as ever over how to parcel out the remaining $313 billion available under the budget caps and handle a collection of policy riders written chiefly by majority House Republicans who will be out of power come January.
Ultimately, the question of what happens to the remaining fiscal 2019 spending bills, and when, boils down to the following question: Can lawmakers reach a deal with the White House on some level of wall-related funding between the $5 billion in the House’s Homeland Security measure for “technology and physical barriers” and the Senate’s $1.6 billion worth of “pedestrian fencing”? There are early indications that Trump and Hill Democrats are ready to deal. In his post-midterm press conference, Trump said he wouldn’t necessarily accept a partial shutdown if the spending bill due Dec. 7 doesn’t have the full $5 billion. “I can’t commit to that,” Trump said. And on Monday, Leahy said his party was ready to talk more broadly about additional border security needs. “I’m willing to make some compromises provided we can get it done,” he said. But Leahy hinted that Democrats are ready to play a little “Art of the Deal” themselves if Trump makes some other concessions. “I’d want to see where it’s being spent . . . I can’t speak for my whole caucus, but there are a whole lot of aspects that are involved here, not the least of which are all the poison-pill riders in the House bill,” Leahy said.
Budget bills require a 60-vote minimum before reaching the Senate floor, so passing them usually requires significant compromise. Congress had approved bills covering roughly 75 percent of 2019 discretionary spending before breaking for Election Day, according to Murkowski, who said most of the appropriations packages passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support. The remaining agencies are funded through Dec. 7. The key to restarting normal budgeting order, which had been mostly dead since about 2010, was getting rid of “poison-pill” riders — partisan policy mandates often attached to the appropriations bills — that can immediately kill otherwise popular legislation.
The top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee told reporters Monday that new border security funds must be used for fencing rather than a 30-foot concrete wall as Trump has advocated. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont said money for the border can’t be shifted from other domestic priorities, and that for both sides to cut a year-end funding deal the GOP must drop “poison pill” policy riders and adequately fund disaster relief for recent hurricanes and wildfires.
On September 28, Trump signed a giant appropriations bill that also prevented a government shutdown over border wall funded until December. Other than conservatives angry about abortion funding, no one much noticed, thanks to the Kavanaugh hearings. As congressional Republicans kept reassuring us all and each other, Trump was bluffing, and so he signed that “ridiculous Spending Bill” in what amounted to peaceful silence as Washington hung on every word from Kavanaugh and Ford and Flake and Graham and all the other characters in the confirmation drama. Government employees affected by the non-shutdown and the specific provisions of the appropriations measures noticed, of course. And so, too, did Christian-right types who were angry that their pet appropriations riders were left out. Here was the headline from CNS News on the story about the bill: “Trump Signs ‘Minibus’-CR That Funds Planned Parenthood and Aborted Baby-Parts Research.” Some of the same disgruntled conservatives may hope that Trump opts for a government shutdown when the continuing resolution runs out in December. It may be all they want for Christmas. But for now, there aren’t too many people noticing enough to share their outrage.
President Trump on Friday signed into law a spending bill that will provide full-year appropriations for several federal agencies and stopgap funding for a portion of government, staving off a partial shutdown at least until December. Lawmakers this week boasted of their accomplishments, noting that it had been 22 years since they last successfully passed as many full-year appropriations on time. Now that Trump has signed the bill into law, the Defense Department will not be forced to operate temporarily under a CR for the first time in 10 years. The Senate last week easily approved the bill. Democrats celebrated that the final bill, which went to conference committee after the House and Senate passed their own versions of it, was stripped of “poison pill” riders and fully funded agencies over Trump’s objections.
Clean-water opponents are pushing riders that would repeal the Clean Water Rule with nearly every piece of must-pass legislation in Congress, including the Farm Bill and appropriations bills that are still up for debate. Elsewhere, EPA Acting Administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler will soon unveil plans to replace existing policy with a rule that would slash protections for wetlands, streams and drinking water sources. If these efforts prevail, it will be a boon for developers, pipeline operators, and oil and gas companies, at the expense of Minnesotans water and health.
The House on Wednesday passed an $854 billion spending bill to avert an October shutdown, funding large swaths of the government while pushing the funding deadline for others until Dec. 7. The bill passed by 361-61, a week after the Senate passed an identical measure by a vote of 93-7. The package included two appropriations bills, which fully funded Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education for fiscal 2019, and make up about two-thirds of the annual appropriations total for the year. It also included a continuing resolution (CR) extending current funding levels for any unfunded agencies through the first two months of the fiscal year. “Just as important is what this bill does not include, the unnecessary partisan riders that caused House Democrats to oppose Labor-HHS in the appropriations committee,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), alluding to a variety of conservative policies that appeared in the original House version of the bill, including provisions restricting access to abortion and targeting Planned Parenthood. House conservatives were incensed that policy riders that passed in their chamber were stripped out of the final versions during negotiations with the Senate, which requires 60 votes to pass spending legislation. If Trump signs the bill, it will be the first time in 22 years that five spending bills were enacted on time. Last week, Trump signed a package of three bills, including military construction and veterans' affairs, legislative branch and energy and water. In total, the five bills amount to some 77 percent of the annual discretionary spending total. Meanwhile, the House and Senate were rushing to iron out differences on a third package of bills, including Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, and Financial Services and general government. With the House expected to adjourn on Friday until after the midterm elections, failure to do so would punt action on the bills until November or December.
The passed legislation package was a compromise from previous House- and Senate-passed versions. Appropriators in both chambers reconciled the versions into one package that the Senate passed Sept. 18. Senate and House versions of the legislation greatly mirrored each other in regard to proposed cuts to DOL spending. The House previously passed an appropriations package that would cut NLRB funding by about 5 percent. The compromise legislation also removed controversial labor-related policy riders like a provision that would have reversed an Obama-era NLRB decision expanding joint employer liability for businesses in staffing, franchise, and other contractual relationships.