With the Annual Spending Process About to Start, Lawmakers Should Make It a Priority to Remove Legacy Poison Pills From Annual Spending Bills

Capitol Congress 4

For Immediate Release:
May 27, 2021

Contact: David Rosen, drosen@citizen.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Clean Budget Coalition is reminding lawmakers to remove legacy poison pills from the annual spending bills ahead of the anticipated announcement of President Joe Biden’s budget proposal, which will kick-start the annual appropriations process.

“It’s long past time for a clean slate with clean appropriations bills that fund our government,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen and co-chair of the coalition. “This year, as we celebrate higher spending levels for agencies that need increased resources at a challenging time for our nation, we also hope to see the bills unburdened by corporate giveaways.”

Legacy riders are harmful policy poison pills that were attached to spending legislation at some point in the past and have remained in effect year after year. These special favors for big corporations and ideological extremists are held over from one budget cycle to the next, sometimes for decades, until removed by Congress.

Earlier this year, the coalition put together a list of more than two dozen legacy riders that will continue to harm access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including abortion; children’s health; the integrity of our nation’s campaign finance system; endangered species and our environment; workers, consumers, and more unless they are removed from the FY 22 spending bills.

The coalition is also warning lawmakers to be on the lookout for new poison pills that unscrupulous lawmakers may try to sneak into the text of this year’s spending bills.

“To build a future where abortion care is available and affordable to anyone who needs it, we must end the Hyde Amendment and related coverage bans that disproportionately impact people of color working to make ends meet. These are the same communities who are also bearing the brunt of the pandemic and systemic racism every single day. Federal appropriations bills without the Hyde Amendment and coverage bans are a racial and economic justice priority.”

  • Kelsey Ryland, abortion coverage campaign co-director, All* Above All

“Endangered Species Act listing decisions need to be based on best available science. The Sage Grouse ESA listing rider is undermining the planning process and hindering grouse recovery – it needs to go to revive the region-wide conservation strategy.”

  • Steve Holmer, vice president of policy, American Bird Conservancy

“As a country we are facing two urgent issues according to scientists: climate change and unprecedented biodiversity loss. Cleaning up our spending bills and removing destructive legacy riders, including the harmful sage-grouse rider, is more important now than ever. We can’t prioritize fossil fuel profits over science while this iconic bird continues to decline across its range. We urge Congress to do the right thing and remove the rider.”

  • Mary Beth Beetham, director of legislative affairs, Defenders of Wildlife