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Headline for Clean Budget News & Resources (FY 2018)
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Clean Budget News & Resources (FY 2018)

News, op-eds, editorials, LTEs, blogs and other resources.

CDC Scientists Plea to Congress: Let Us Research Gun Violence

Government scientists understand the value in studying gun violence, but we won’t allow them to do their jobs. As my colleague mentioned yesterday, a policy rider that has been including in spending bills since 1996 effectively bans the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from researching gun violence. The so called the Dickey amendment has not definitively outlawed research on gun violence and safety, but Congress “coincidentally” removed funding from the CDC to the exact amount it once spent on that research. This sends the message to CDC scientists that such research is strongly discouraged, deprioritized, and ultimately, it is not conducted.

Congress Must Address Gun Violence Safety

Over the next few weeks, as Congress works to finalize a spending bill for the rest of the 2018 fiscal year, and as it begins work on a spending bill for the 2019 fiscal year, there is one concrete thing that our elected officials can do to move the ball in the right direction. Congress must lift the ban restricting gun violence research and fund critical work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The policy rider, which has been embedded into spending bills since 1996, while not expressly prohibiting research on gun violence and gun violence safety, is written in such a way that it has created a chilling effect at the CDC and suppressed inquiry into this public health crisis.

The Dirty Little Deals That Would Foul the Environment

Republicans are adding measures to appropriations bills that would gut protections of the air, water and landscape. Public interest groups have counted nearly 90 of these riders, but here are several of the worst.

What's Hiding in the Budget Bill? Sneak Attacks on Wolves, Trees and Water

Five key environmental protections are on the verge of being wiped out by a sneaky procedural move in Washington, D.C. Now that Congress has finally agreed to an overall budget level for 2018, it is writing a massive final must-pass spending bill to enact before its March 23 deadline. The allies of polluting industries have added over 80 anti-environmental “riders” on to the multiple bills that will be used to negotiate this final funding measure. Riders are pieces of legislation that often would not gain support on their own but get a free ride as amendments on a larger bill that has general support. These amendments would override years of work from federal agencies, decisions by judges, and public comments from millions of Americans. And this could happen with little debate if Congress doesn’t hear from its constituents soon.

Environmentalists Declare War on Trump’s 2019 Budget

“The recent border wall construction waivers, opening of large swaths of critical habitat to oil and gas leasing, and legislative attacks in the form of “poison pill” budget riders all undermine protective, science-based statutes like the Endangered Species Act,” the Union for Concerned Scientists said in a statement issued Tuesday.

How Bad Are Proposed Budget Cuts at the EPA? Let Me Count the Ways

We can be forgiven for thinking that spending bills are all about funding. But our elected leaders can sneak or even boast about attaching anti-science, poison pill policy riders to spending bills. And the spending bill introduced in the Senate that should be clearly focused on funding public health and science-based policymaking is no exception.

Tell Congress to Send Support, Not Poison Pills, to Endangered Species Protections

Endangered species protections are under constant threat from politically motivated decisions. The recent border wall construction waivers, opening of large swaths of critical habitat to oil and gas leasing, and legislative attacks in the form of “poison pill” budget riders all undermine protective, science-based statutes like the Endangered Species Act. This year’s spending legislation contains several riders that would remove federal protections for the following species.

‘Crisis Budgeting’ Likely Ahead Despite White House Claim

The end of crisis-to-crisis budgeting that Sanders promised last week “is not guaranteed,” Harrison said. A big reason? GOP lawmakers have a history of inserting provisions into spending bills that would gut or negatively affect programs important to Democrats, as they did repeatedly during Obama’s second term after grabbing control of both chambers. Because a handful of Democratic senators must vote with Republicans to pass spending bills, shutdown threats are not likely to be going anywhere, despite the White House’s typically bold rhetoric. “And since appropriations bills are among the few bills that will eventually pass each year, they inevitably become a target for all sorts of riders that could slow or derail them,” Harrison said Monday. “So Congress certainly has a better chance of getting the fiscal 2019 appropriations bills passed in a timely fashion this year, but it is far from certain.” Should a politically white-hot policy rider end up in whatever lawmakers try to pass to keep the federal lights on beyond March 23, when the latest stopgap spending bill expires, the cycle could continue.

Four Things to Know About the Budget Accord

This week's bipartisan agreement to boost the government doesn't mean energy and environment agencies will avoid cuts or policy riders. No controversial energy or environmental provisions were in the budget deal, but policy riders still could be attached to the omnibus.Dozens of riders have advanced through the full House or Senate panels, including more than three dozen related to Interior and EPA. Riders on the table aim to limit legal challenges for new regulations the Trump administration plans to promulgate as replacements for Obama-era actions.

Washington Senator Calls Out Congress For Failing to Adequately Fund Pacific Northwest Wildfire Prevention in Upcomin...

But U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) says the new budget agreement does not do enough to address wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. Cantwell accused Republican leadership of injecting, "'poison pill' environmental riders into the process," and side-lining environmental laws that are meant to protect people, wildlife and public lands.

Campaign Finance Riders Hidden in the Omnibus Must Be Removed

Now that Congress has stopped the irresponsible practice of funding the government in short spurts, it must focus on appropriating funds. Yet hundreds of poison pill policy riders have been proposed for inclusion in the final appropriations package, and they must be removed. This sneaky tactic of inserting unpopular provisions into must-pass spending bills is undemocratic, and these policies are nothing but handouts to big corporations and special interests. Several of these poison pills would undermine our democracy and tip the scales even further in favor of wealthy special interests.

Congress Must Remove Hundreds of Poison Pill Riders From the Omnibus

More than halfway into the fiscal year, Congress finally has reached a two-year budget deal and can take the next step. While it is problematic that the bill advantages military spending over domestic spending, it increases funding levels across the board. Congress now can turn to the task of appropriating the funds needed to keep the programs and protections we all care about running. But standing in the way of a final funding package are hundreds of partisan poison pill riders that must be removed from the omnibus.

Before Trump’s Prayer Breakfast, 145 Groups Call on Legislators to Keep Churches Nonpartisan

In recent years appropriations packages have become a top target for poison-pill riders, inappropriate partisan provisions that have nothing to do with funding the government and could never pass Congress on their own. The Johnson Amendment provision is one of hundreds of potential ideological riders affecting democracy, health and the environment that could end up as part of the 2018 funding package. The Johnson Amendment is the 63-year-old law that forbids 501(c)(3) organizations from endorsing or opposing candidates for office. Though the law is widely popular among faith leaders and voters, President Donald Trump used last year’s Prayer Breakfast to denounce it, calling for it to be “totally destroy[ed]”. A version of the 2018 funding package that passed through committee in the House contains a poison-pill provision that would restrict enforcement of the law with respect to churches.

Broken, Repetitive Funding Process Endangers Americans’ Health

Raising the budget caps and making investments in federal programs that ensure fundamental health protections — like clean air, clean water, safe food, and biomedical research — should be no-brainers. Americans rely on agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep them healthy. But since a final funding bill has been repeatedly postponed, appropriations legislation is one of many urgent issues requiring Congressional action. Still, some members of Congress and the administration are fighting to gut these agencies’ funding, or even use policy riders to further complicate the process and curtail agency authority to do their lifesaving work.

Clean Budget Coalition Leaders Expose Poison Poll Riders

Clean Budget Coalition leaders expose and explain the special interest wish list items hidden in federal spending bills.

217 Natural Resource and Climate Scientists Oppose Anti-Conservation Riders in Senate’s FY18 Interior Appropriations ...

A letter to Members of Congress, signed by 217 natural resource and climate scientists, including some of our Nation’s most prominent, expressing their strong opposition to harmful riders in the Senate’s FY18 Interior spending legislation that would threaten one of our country’s most important conservation laws—the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule—and the federal forests in Alaska that it protects.

Congress Shouldn't Swallow These Poison Pills

Once we achieve budgetary numbers, the appropriators in Congress can finally get to work on the details of the package that provides money for programs and government agencies. It is in these bills that the lessons learned by the shutdown impasse will be tested. Lawmakers will need to ensure that the hundreds of controversial poison pill riders Republican lawmakers have proposed including are removed from the final spending package. (A poison pill rider is an unrelated controversial legislative gatecrasher added to a must-pass bill because it cannot pass on its own.) Virtually all of these poisonous riders are special favors for the Republicans Party's corporate and billionaire donors – giveaways that have nothing to do with funding government programs.

Poison Pill Rider to Move Consumer Bureau’s Funding Under Congressional Control is a Terrible Idea

CFPB’s foes want to remove the bureau from under the Federal Reserve System where it is housed and funded. They want to relegate it to the politically-charged, corporate lobbyist-influenced congressional appropriations process. This move will sabotage the CFPB’s independence and its critical function to oversee the consumer finance markets. This terrible idea is one of hundreds of poison pill policy riders designed to undermine public protections that have been quietly dropped into U.S. budget legislation. This “policy rider” method of rewriting our laws is madness, and is as reckless as the attempted scheme to rework CFPB’s own budget process.

3 Possible Outcomes for Congress' Next Fiscal Deadline

Democrats and Republicans in both chambers insist their goal is to come up with a budget agreement that would allow them to write their overdue annual spending bills for fiscal 2018. The House and Senate have not yet settled on what the overall discretionary spending levels will be for fiscal 2018. Alexander said that if lawmakers can settle on a top line by Feb. 8, they could within three to four weeks assemble the 12 annual appropriations bills into a final omnibus, which could contain policy riders.

Democrats Push Senate Leaders to Keep CFPB Out of Appropriations

A group of 40 Democratic senators is calling on Senate leaders to ensure that any final appropriations measure does not include a provision making the CFPB subject to the annual appropriations process. “Independent funding for the CFPB is critical for the agency to continue vigorously enforcing consumer protection laws without any political interference,” the senators wrote to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Both the FY2018 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives in September 2017 and the Interior bill proposed by the Senate in November 2017 contained numerous policy riders that would put health and lives at risk from air pollution, and cut funding for EPA.

Queasy Riders: Budget Bills Are Far from Clean

As Congress struggles to agree on a long-overdue budget and spending bills, the devil is in the details as Republicans are trying to sneak through provisions that would harm the environment, public health and democracy.

Press Release: 149 Groups Urge Congress to Remove Poison Pill Riders and Fund Our Government

In a letter sent today to all 535 congressional offices, 149 groups in the Clean Budget Coalition called on Congress to pass a clean omnibus, free from poison pill policy riders. Poison pill riders threaten workers, consumers and families as well as our communities, environment and economy, and they should be removed from any final or short-term funding agreement, the coalition maintains.

Letter: 149 Groups Urge Congress to Oppose Poison Pill Riders in the Omnibus

We, the undersigned organizations as a part of the Clean Budget Coalition, write to ask you to oppose any FY 2018 omnibus or other spending measure which includes ideological poison pill policy riders. The majority in Congress are quietly trying to slip in special interest wish list items via poison pill riders into the year-end funding packages.

This is a list of anti-environment riders attached to appropriations bills and other must-pass legislation.