FY 2018 News & Resources
This resource bank contains FY 2018 budget cycle news articles, op-eds, editorials, blogs, press releases and other resources from Clean Budget Coalition members and allies. Use the controls below to search, sort and filter.
In a resounding rebuke of President Trump’s budget, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle came together last month to pass an omnibus spending bill that funds core programs that protect the health and wellbeing of families across the country. So as Congress gets back to work on budget and appropriations issues, we again encourage our representatives to reject any effort that harms the health of our kids and future generations by slashing investments or sneaking in poison pill policy riders. That’s the surest path to passing a 2019 spending bill and showing constituents that Congress can tackle its most basic governing responsibilities.
When President Trump signed the Omnibus spending bill recently he kept the government running. One little publicized development was a move by members of Congress to remove the gray wolf from federal endangered species protection. That was eliminated from the bill Trump signed. The move stops states from managing gray wolf populations and leaves it in federal control through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Some in Congress sought to weaken the Clean Water Act through “riders” in the spending bill. Thanks to Senator Durbin, the spending bill not only avoided these riders but also increased funding for protecting Illinois’ rivers, lakes, and streams (such as the Great Lakes as mentioned in this article). Congress, through the leadership of Senator Durbin, chose to protect clean water by investing in the EPA. This was no small feat and we should be immensely grateful for this leadership.
After months of negotiations Congress finally passed the massive omnibus spending bill last week, and on the whole, the final bill ended up being free of some very bad proposed provisions that would have harmed our environment, weakened worker protections, and upended our campaign finance system. A few troublesome riders did slip through that impact our democracy, though, so let’s review.
Poisonous riders were removed from the bill by Democratic leaders, even at the expense of incurring powerful interest group ire. Republican Senator from Alaska Lisa Murkowski was rebuffed when she tried to attach a rider dismantling protections for Alaskan forests. Republican Senator from Mississippi Thad Cochran tried to drain Mississippi’s vital wetlands to make room for territorial expansion by soybean corporations, also to no avail.
Congress passed a spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2018 that includes robust funding for clean energy innovation—and most importantly, it clears the way for the Department of Energy (DOE) to carry out an effective operation while guarding against many harmful anti-environment policy “riders” that have no place in a spending bill.
last week, with little fanfare or scrutiny, Congress passed, by a vote of 256-167, a $1.3 trillion federal spending package, known as “the Omnibus Spending Bill.” The 2,200-page bill, signed with little enthusiasm by President Trump, was needed to prevent a government shutdown. As is almost always the case with massive spending bills, the devil is in the riders.
The Johnson Amendment is once again facing reversal, this time as a rider to the spending bill Congress must pass to fund the government. Bill riders are provisions attached to unrelated legislation; riders can thus pass without separate vote or debate. “Destroying” the Johnson Amendment is tantamount to further demolishing campaign finance rules. Do we want, need, or benefit from more Dark Money influencing our elections? How will our country benefit by having our religious institutions engaging in political activity? Church and state will no longer be separate institutions in the United States. Democracy will find itself in a more ragged state than it is today, in desperate need of monumental repair.
There is another story line within the broader one, and it too is heartening: the willingness of the Democratic leadership to stand up to mischief-makers in Congress itself. A bill of this magnitude —$1.3 trillion altogether, including hundreds of billions for the military — is fertile ground for legislators who wish to sneak in provisions that are unlikely to survive on their own and thus need the protective cover of a big must-pass bill. As a rule, these so-called riders have nothing to do with spending and are aimed primarily at changing policy or undermining basic laws. Most of the most damaging riders in the bill were devised by Republicans and involved environmental policy. That these and many more riders were deleted from the bill is a tribute to Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, and Senate allies like Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Tom Udall of New Mexico and Thomas Carper of Delaware, all willing to annoy some powerful interests along the way.
The recent omnibus spending bill included a major policy win for America’s forests in the shape of a dead policy rider originally slipped into the bill by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The shifty policy rider sought to hasten a year-long effort to compromise among local stakeholders, whom recognized the need to transition out of unsustainable logging of 800 year-old trees in Alaska’s iconic Tongass National Forest.
It's hard not to take our eyes away from all of the Trump shiny objects — from the Russia probe, to the erosion of staff, to Stormy Daniels. To pass the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, the GOP dropped a number of additional anti-environment riders. Primarily, congressional negotiators rejected Trump's deep cuts to EPA and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Congress has passed a bill to fund the federal government without proposals that could have introduced logging and road-building to millions of acres of America's wildest forests. Key senators rejected "riders" offered by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski that would have exempted Alaska’s two national forests, the Tongass National Forest and Chugach National Forest, from the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Right off the bat, these riders could have introduced logging and road-building to nearly 15 million acres of pristine forest in America's wildest frontier.
Notably, the final bill drops several OSHA-related policy riders to ensure that it got enough votes from Democrats to pass. This included dropping stand-alone appropriations legislation Republicans considered in 2017 that would have prohibited the implementation or enforcement of OSHA’s 2016 injury reporting update rule and a measure to block enforcement of OSHA’s silica standard.
An effort to remove the Great Lakes gray wolf from the federal endangered species list failed last week when Congress approved an omnibus spending bill. In the flurry to get a spending plan passed before a Friday deadline, the rider was pulled from the final bill that was signed by President Donald Trump Friday afternoon.
Despite the long odds, in a Congress dominated by polluter allied, anti-regulation members, this “No Cuts, No Riders” campaign paid off when almost all new riders were kept out of the bill and funding levels for EPA, Interior, Energy, and NOAA either stayed level or were increased.
While far from perfect, the bill largely steers clear "riders" that would weaken clean water safeguards. It also maintains and, in some cases, even increases funding support for important water quality programs.
The omnibus spending bill, signed last week by President Trump, was an important victory for rivers and clean water, not only for what was in the bill, but also for what was left out: we were able to fight back several harmful anti-environmental riders, including one that would have prevented public scrutiny and judicial review of the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal the Clean Water Rule.
The Republican Congress didn’t just ignore Trump’s proposals: The $1.3 trillion spending bill actually fulfilled—or even exceeded—many of the funding requests of his Democratic predecessor. In addition to winning increases in domestic spending, Democrats were able to preclude the inclusion of dozens of the same restrictive policy riders that Republicans had tried to add while Obama was president. The legislation retained funding for Planned Parenthood, for example, despite years of Republican promises to prohibit it.
Birds dodged harmful riders that would have negatively impacted the Tongass National Forest, the largest remaining old-growth rainforest in North America, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. The bill includes an important fix to the way wildfire suppression and restoration are funded at land management agencies that will allow for more restoration activities. Implements important limits on new border wall construction, including preventing construction in Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge along the U.S.-Mexico border.
An effort to remove the Great Lakes gray wolf from the federal endangered species list failed last week when Congress approved an omnibus spending bill. Late last year language to remove protections for the animal in Wisconsin and the rest of the Western Great Lakes region was included in the House Interior and Environment appropriations bill. But in the flurry to get a spending plan passed before a Friday deadline, the rider was pulled from the final bill that was signed by President Donald Trump Friday afternoon. The news was hailed by conservation groups who oppose removing wolves from list, which would allow wolf hunts to resume in Wisconsin.
Over the last several months and as recently as Wednesday, preliminary versions of the bill included as many as 12 riders, including one to remove the wolf in Wisconsin and the western Great Lakes region from protections of the Endangered Species Act and prevent any future legal action that would return the species to the list. However, the riders were stripped from the final version of the legislation approved by the House and Senate and eventually signed by President Donald Trump. As a result, the wolf is still listed under the Endangered Species Act and it's uncertain when Wisconsin will resume state management of the species. The wolf has been listed under the ESA since a Dec. 2014 federal court decision. The rejection of the wolf rider was hailed by some environmental groups, including the Endangered Species Coalition, Howling for Wolves and Natural Resources Defense Council.
There’s great news for animals in the final 2018 budget bill that President Trump signed into law today. The bottom line is this: the budget bill includes language to restrict funds from being used to harm horses and to address a purge of key animal enforcement records, it increases federal resources to enforce significant animal protection laws, and it omits riders that would have been devastating for wildlife.
How our government spends our money is a direct reflection of our values, and the $1.3 trillion, 2,232-page omnibus spending bill, overall, is a strong repudiation of the Trump budget proposal. The Leadership Conference, along with a broad coalition of stakeholders, pushed for a significant increase in funding for the Census Bureau so that it can prepare for a fair and accurate count of all persons living in the U.S. in 2020. Congress demonstrated that it takes its responsibility under the Constitution seriously by including a dramatic increase in resources for that important task. That increase, along with a provision that will prevent employers from taking tips from tipped workers and the rejection of many dangerous poison pill riders are steps in the right direction.
In a major win for imperiled species conservation, policy riders to prohibit protections for the gray wolf, lesser prairie-chicken, and Preble’s jumping mouse were omitted from the final text.
Despite yet another morning tweet tantrum, President Trump has finally signed a full funding package for this year that will keep the government open through September. As a member of the Clean Budget Coalition, People For the American Way applauded the defeat of many of the bill's worst poison pill policy riders.
three riders remain in the final bill, and prevent government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from implementing policies that would shine light on the anonymity of some types of political contributions dubbed “dark money.” These bans have been included in several iterations of spending bills dating back to 2014, but have never been codified into law through standalone legislation.
Despite reports that Republicans may use omnibus legislation to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment prohibiting 501c3 groups, including religious congregations, from participating in election campaigns, no such change was included in the bill. Tim Delaney, CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, said, “Keeping intact the longstanding law known as the Johnson Amendment is at least a short-term victory for 501c3 organizations and the American people.”
At about 4 inches thick and comprising more than 2,200 pages, the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus passed yesterday in the House and shortly after midnight in the Senate in a series of carefully crafted political trade-offs aimed at winning bipartisan support. Here's at look at the energy and environment winners and losers in the spending accord.
UCS, along with our coalition partners, has been working for the better part of the last year to ensure that the final spending agreement protects the budgets of federal science agencies and excludes any anti-science “poison pill” riders, or policy provisions that have no business being in spending bills. Together, we were able to thwart all the harmful policies, cuts, and program eliminations listed above.
The House March 22 passed a massive government appropriations bill that would increase funds for the Labor Department and include provisions preventing employers from pocketing workers’ tips as part of a controversial DOL rule. The omnibus also includes a provision that would exempt minor league baseball players from minimum wage and overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The $1.3 trillion spending deal released late Wednesday night includes language to prevent employers from being able to steal workers’ tips under the Labor Department’s controversial tip-pooling rule. The language gives workers the right to sue to recover any stolen tips with added damages and gives the secretary of Labor the ability to impose civil penalties on employers who violate the law.
We were concerned about the many proposed policy riders that would have placed special interests over the health of both Americans and our environment. We’re pleased that Congress, in a bipartisan way, chose to set most of those riders aside and vote on a reasonably clean bill.
Republicans agreed to remove a slew of provisions that would have gutted environmental and campaign finance laws in order to garner needed Democratic support for a massive $1.3 trillion federal budget bill that Congress has to pass by Friday night to avoid a government shutdown.
The massive omnibus spending bill released Wednesday included a surprise gift to the private equity industry, which is one of the most powerful players in the financial sector. It loosens restrictions on a class of investment firms known as Business Development Companies (BDCs). These are mostly just accounting fictions; BDCs are tax-exempt vehicles largely created, owned and operated by private equity firms. These entities raise money through stock exchanges and are supposed to provide capital for small- and medium-sized businesses. In reality, many of their holdings are in financial companies and exotic derivatives. With this provision, BDCs could borrow twice as much money as they hold in equity, compared to a 1:1 relationship under current rules. This increase in leverage increases returns and risk—if you gamble with someone else’s money and win, you make more for yourself, but if you lose, you have nothing to pay back the lenders.
Among the winners in a $1.3 trillion spending bill congressional leaders agreed to Thursday: wild horses. Negotiators said nay to a House proposal to allow the culling of tens of thousands of horses and burros that roam the West or are held in government-funded corrals and ranches.
The Omnibus budget package contains several policy riders designed to benefit Wall Street investment funds and big banks at the expense of the public.
The 264 groups in the Clean Budget Coalition are applauding congressional lawmakers who fought to remove hundreds of poison pill policy riders from the omnibus text, particularly the minority leadership and appropriators in both chambers of Congress. Thanks to their hard work and determination, Americans are getting a funding package for FY 2018 that is mostly free from these harmful measures, which would have threatened our environment, our campaign finance system and women’s health, rolled back Wall Street reforms and worker protections, and much more.
Today the House of Representatives voted and passed an Omnibus appropriations bill that largely rejected new policy provisions or amendments that would have weakened the Endangered Species Act. The bill’s release follows weeks of intense pressure from conservation groups on behalf of imperiled wildlife and late-night negotiations in the House and Senate.
Last night congressional leaders released the language of the omnibus spending bill expected to be voted on this week. The legislation does not include provisions that would have gutted the Johnson Amendment, which prevents churches and other nonprofits from directly engaging in electoral activity, despite sustained efforts by some Republican members and right-wing activists to have such provisions inserted.
Thanks to the Democratic Party’s leadership in Congress, Donald Trump’s outrageous efforts to dramatically slash funding for the government agencies that protect our environment, public health, and public lands will not happen under this legislation. Democrats also successfully fought off nearly one hundred toxic policy riders which congressional Republicans were attempting to force through with this bill, included attacks to undermine the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and other bedrock environmental protections.
The spending bill is mostly good news for the environment and clean energy research, although lawmakers added a few troublesome provisions to the legislation.
Just three days before the March for Our Lives, Congress has opened the door for federal research into gun violence to resume. In a spending bill to provide funding for the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year, Congress has clarified that the CDC is able to pursue research to help stop gun violence.
We thank the Democratic leadership for their success in boosting investments for a brighter future for our kids and fighting off a raft of anti-environmental and other nefarious policy riders. At the same time, it is unfortunate that Republican leaders were able to insert some anti-environmental and other harmful policy riders that simply have no place in a spending bill while securing some funding for anti-environmental border fencing and levees and continuing to block protections for Dreamers.
Restaurant workers and their allies scored a historic victory today, winning bipartisan support from members of Congress and the administration to include a provision in the omnibus budget bill that, if enacted, codifies protections for tipped restaurant workers against employers, supervisors, and managers taking any portion of their tips.
While the bill is largely free of policy riders that would weaken protections from tobacco and air pollution, it does contain a rider that would circumvent science and encourage the burning of biomass for electricity. It also contains a rider that would prohibit EPA from enforcing protections against particulate matter, lead, carbon monoxide and mercury from certain incinerators. These riders are especially concerning because children and people with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are among the most vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution emitted from incinerators and biomass burning.
I’m pleased that Congress has also clarified that CDC scientists can conduct research on gun violence. For years we've called for the federal ban to be lifted, and we’re a step closer. We plan to ensure Secretary Azar creates the conditions that allow scientists to do this critical research without fear of retaliation. While a group of lawmakers were able to block most of the harmful and unrelated measures tacked onto the bill, there still remain a few poison pill riders in here, including a biomass provision, that essentially thumb their nose at science.
Public Citizen applauds the removal of many of the proposed poison pill policy riders and the hard work of the minority to remove unpopular and damaging policies from the final deal. While we are disappointed with the inclusion of a provision that makes it hard for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to finish its critically important political spending disclosure rule as well as two other anti-disclosure provisions, we are happy that so many of the hundreds of newly proposed poisonous provisions will not see the light of day. In particular, we celebrate the removal of the poison pill that would have blocked enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, which would have unleashed an additional $1 billion in secret political spending.
Lawmakers continue to debate major changes to political money regulations as part of a year-end spending package, despite opposition from numerous congressional Democrats and campaign finance watchdog groups. Even with congressional primaries already underway, the proposals could play out in the November midterm elections if enacted, campaign finance experts on both sides of the debate say. The two most contentious matters deal with loosening the spending limits on coordination between political parties and their candidates as well as a possible rollback of the longstanding Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches and charities from endorsing political candidates.
A funding bill must be passed by March 23, or the government will shut down yet again. Standing in the way of a bipartisan deal are an unprecedented number of environmental “poison pill riders.” Congress, especially the House, is going to great lengths to line the pockets of big industry by including federal budget riders in the current drafts of spending bills, which expose Americans to just about every kind of pollution under the sun.
As the clock ticks down to the federal funding deadline, we are concerned that, according to the latest press reports, a large number of poison pill riders remain in play in negotiations. Once again, Congress is facing a shutdown that no one wants in part due to attempts by lawmakers to insert measures into the omnibus that are too controversial to pass on their own merits. With the March 23 funding deadline just days away, Congress doesn’t have a moment to waste, and any measures that hurt the public must be removed from the spending bill immediately so that a clean omnibus can proceed.