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Updated by drosen on Sep 21, 2018
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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.

Title X and the Publicly Funded Family Planning Network Deserve Support

The budget should be free of any policy riders that seek to eliminate certain family planning and sexual health providers from accessing public funds. Such riders, including those that object to a provider’s scope of service beyond family planning and those that allow for exemptions for required services due to an entity’s religious or moral objections to that care, are to the detriment of patients and public health. For instance, the administration should abandon its repeated efforts, as evidenced by the president’s FY 2018 and 2019 budget plans, to bar “certain entities that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood” health centers from serving patients that access care through federally funded health programs. Blocking patients from obtaining publicly funded reproductive health services from Planned Parenthood and other similar providers would reduce access to high-quality care and widen existing inequities.

Hope for the End of Harmful Riders?

The other major success in this bill is that it rejects the inclusion of new policy riders designed to undermine environmental safeguards. Part of the reason why Congress has had such a difficult time passing funding bills is that even if they could agree on funding, House Republicans were insistent on using these must pass bills to change environmental protection policy, aka policy riders. These policies, which have no place in a spending bill, are widely supported so the House GOP had no chance of passing a standalone bill into law. Instead, they took funding bills hostage and were willing to shut down the government to get what they wanted. Thankfully Democrats were willing to stand up to most of these egregious and harmful demands, but the cost was often a budget process stuck in limbo. This year seemed like it would be more of the same with the House Republicans trying to move a handful of harmful, unrelated, controversial, and often radical policy changes. Yet thanks to a fear of a government shutdown just weeks from the midterm elections, Senate Republicans made a handshake deal with the Democrats to keep these riders off the bill. This change of heart, was a surprising but welcomed development.

Congress: Our Democracy Needs More Transparency, Not Less

The Supreme Court’s decision to give corporations the right under the First Amendment to spend unlimited funds from their corporate treasuries to support or attack candidates is troubling for several reasons, and investors concerned about the value of their investments and citizens concerned about the future of American democracy are looking to the SEC to take the action that so many investors have demanded and require disclosure of political spending. The rider blocking the SEC from making progress on this rulemaking was inappropriately included in the appropriations process, and the budget should be free of any partisan, poison pill policy riders. Disclosure of a corporation’s political spending is good for business and good for our democracy. Congress should not stop the SEC from finalizing this important disclosure rule.

There Might Not Be a Government Shutdown This Year. This Is Big News.

Why is the process moving more swiftly this year? Three reasons. First, in February, Congress and the president reached a two-year budget deal that increased spending limits for defense and nondefense programs. Agreeing to the overall size of the federal pie early in the year gave the parties more time to negotiate how to divide it up. Second, the budget deal lifted caps imposed under the 2011 budget law by $85 billion and $68 billion, respectively, for defense and nondefense spending. A bigger pie made it easier to compromise. Third, Republican control of the House, Senate, and White House has generated new pressures on Republicans to reach deals with Democrats. At risk of losing their chamber majorities, Republicans want to deliver legislative wins before the November elections. Both parties’ leaders want to avoid shutting down any part of the government before Election Day. Convincing colleagues on both sides of the aisle to forgo attaching controversial policy riders to the spending bills was key. President Trump remains a wild card. He has threatened several times to veto bills unless Congress agrees to spend billions on a wall along the southwest border. But Democrats and even some Republicans oppose spending as much as Trump has asked for. Republicans have dodged the problem for now. They combined the defense bill — one of their major priorities — with the health and labor bill, which Democrats value, into a single legislative package. Then they added a stopgap measure to cover the remaining federal agencies, postponing a full fight about border wall funding until after the midterms. That means Trump cannot get funding for the border wall unless he is willing to veto the entire package, forcing the government to shut down. It is a risk Republicans bet the president will not take.

Senate Backs Bill to Avert Shutdown, Boost Military Spending

The Senate on Tuesday approved a wide-ranging, $854 billion bill that funds the military and a host of civilian agencies for the next year and provides a short-term fix to keep the government open through early December. The Senate had not passed a spending bill covering Labor or Health in more than a decade before approving one last month. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations panel, said he was pleased that the compromise bill eliminates contentious policy riders that Leahy and other lawmakers call "poison pills." Such riders frequently lead to a spending bill's defeat even as lawmakers from both parties agree on a vast majority of spending priorities.

Congress Heads Off Latest Shutdown Threat

“This is the most significant step we have taken yet,”said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “For the first time in a decade, we are sending a defense spending bill to the President’s desk on time." Shelby said passage of the bill marked a milestone of sorts -- both parties actually had to work together and make compromises to advance the legislation. He said both parties fought hard for vital national needs. "This conference report contains critical funding for defense and domestic priorities," Shelby said. "It accelerates the rebuilding of America’s military and provides our men and women in uniform with the largest pay increase in nearly a decade. It also increases NIH’s budget by $2 billion and provides critical resources to combat the opioid epidemic. And, it contains no poison pill riders." There are still two other spending packages that need Congressional approval before October 1 to avoid a government shutdown. If the other two packages are ratified by both chambers and signed by President Trump, they would add up to nearly 90 percent of the federal government’s annual spending.

Legislation Lowering Labor Department Funding Advances

The minibus removes “poison pill” policy riders that were in the House version, appropriators have said. The GOP provisions essentially would have thwarted passage in the Senate, where the support of at least nine Democrats is required to avoid a filibuster. The scrapped riders include a provision that would have reversed a controversial Obama-era NLRB decision expanding joint employer liability for businesses in staffing, franchise, and other contractual relationships.

Conservatives Left Frustrated as Congress Passes Big Spending Bills

Congressional leadership strategically bundled funding for the labor bill, a major Democratic priority, with funding for the Pentagon, a major Republican priority. For conservatives, voting against the package would mean voting against an increase in defense spending and a raise for the troops. “If they want to vote against defense, that’s up to them. I don’t quarrel with anybody’s vote. There’s going to be sufficient votes to pass the legislation,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), an appropriator. Cole also praised the bipartisan commitment to keep controversial policy riders out of appropriations altogether in order to move the bills forward. “That doesn’t mean those fights are over, it just means you’re not going to be able to win them in an appropriations bill,” he said.

Election-Security Grants a Sticking Point in Spending Debate

The Interior-Environment portion of the spending package also isn’t finished, with Democrats complaining about House Republican environmental policy riders. “More than 20 riders were added to the House bill and they continue to plague these conference negotiations,” Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), ranking member of the Interior-Environment Subcommittee, said last week.

Lawmakers Agree on HHS Spending Bill with No New Anti-Choice Restrictions

Democratic leadership managed to forge a deal that could be considered a win for reproductive health advocates, given the Trump administration’s steady push for anti-choice policies. “The conference agreement will provide ample resources for our armed services, robust funding lifesaving medical research at the National Institutes of Health, and support for vital health care initiatives like Title X family planning and teen pregnancy prevention,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), ranking member of House Appropriations Committee, in a statement. “I am also proud that House Democrats stood firm and succeeded in removing Republicans’ unnecessary and deeply partisan riders.” The details of the deal should come as welcome news for advocates who depend on Democrats to protect the right to choose.

Clean Budget Coalition Thanks Congress for Rejecting Poison Pill Riders

As a part of the Clean Budget Coalition, we, the undersigned organizations, write to thank the Minibus I conferees for reaching a conference bill with no new ideological poison pill policy riders in the conference language of Minibus I made up of the Legislative Branch, Energy & Water and Military Construction–Veterans Affairs appropriations bills and push for a similar outcome for Minibus II and III.

Congress Passes Budget Bill Free of Dirty Water Riders

Today, the U.S. House approved a finalized Energy and Water “minibus” spending package retaining protections for clean water, clean air, and a healthy environment. This was the first spending package that Congress has successfully negotiated and finalized for FY19.

Watershed Moment as Three Appropriations Bills Clear on Time

A batch of three spending bills is on its way to President Donald Trump’s desk following a 377-20 House vote Thursday, marking the first on-time delivery of a quarter of the annual appropriations measures in a decade. The $147.5 billion package — which funds the departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs, the Army Corps of Engineers and the operations of Congress — is the first installment of what lawmakers hope will be nine bills becoming law before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Reaching agreement on these three spending bills was no easy task. In addition to settling the spending level differences between the House and Senate, negotiators had to work out vastly different policy language. The Energy-Water conference report dropped $268 million that was included in the House bill to relaunch the license application review for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal site — opting instead for an interim storage proposal that ignored the politically divisive Nevada location; it removed riders that could have made it easier for the White House to revoke the “Waters of the United States” regulation; and it left out language that would have reversed a court decision direction additional water release of hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest to aid spawning salmon downstream.

Pentagon Set to Win First On-Time Budget Since 2008

The U.S. Congress is poised to pass the defense budget on time for the first time in a decade. A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers formally announced a deal Thursday for a $674 billion defense appropriations bill, packaged with funding for the departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Labor and other government agencies, or Labor-HHS. A joint conference committee finished reconciling the two chambers' bills, teeing up a compromise report to pass before the start of the fiscal year, Oct. 1. If successful, it would avert a partial government shutdown. A good sign for its passage of defense/Labor-HHS “minibus” is that conferees rebuffed controversial policy riders from both sides of the aisle, lawmakers said. “I am also pleased that this bill is free of controversial poison pill riders,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. “We did our job and focused on the task at hand, which is making responsible, thoughtful decisions about how to fund these federal agencies. This is how it should be done.”

Senate Passes $147 Billion "Minibus" Spending Bill

The Senate approved a $147 billion package containing Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bills, the so-called "minibus" funding bill, 92 yeas to 5 nays on Wednesday. The package now goes to the House for consideration before going to the White House for President Trump's signature. This "first minibus" appropriations bill includes 3 of the 12 FY 2019 appropriations bills that need to be passed by October 1, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2019. If all three compromise spending packages are approved by both chambers and signed by President Donald Trump, they would account for nearly 90 percent of annual spending, including the military and most civilian agencies. House and Senate negotiators nixed several partisan policy riders in the House version, including one that would have repealed the Obama-era Clean Water Rule and another to limit spillovers at dams in the Pacific Northwest to protect salmon.

Congress Eyes Spending Options as a Shutdown Looms

Congress returns this week in a race against the clock to get fiscal 2019 spending completed before the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1 as a potential government shutdown looms. Lawmakers from both parties insist they will find a way to make sure agencies stay open next month. But threats from President Trump that he might force a closure unless he gets border wall funding and the presence of controversial riders make the outcome uncertain. Congressional leaders see minibuses as the best way to move bills quickly with limited floor time before the end of the fiscal year. They also believe combining multiple measures will build bipartisan support and lead to fewer partisan policy riders that have derailed individual spending bills in the past. House and Senate negotiators have scheduled conference meetings tomorrow on two more minibuses.

Labor Dept. Funding Proposals to Be Reconciled

Congressional lawmakers will conference Sept. 13 to reconcile House and Senate versions of legislation to fund the Labor Department, the National Labor Relations Board, and related agencies. The Senate passed a minibus appropriators package Aug. 24 that provides $12.1 billion in discretionary funding for the DOL for fiscal year 2019, about $92 million less than Congress enacted last year. The House version also seeks about $12.1 billion for the DOL. The potential sticking point for the two chambers comes with funding proposals for the NLRB. That agency is tasked with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act, which covers employer and union relations. The Senate seeks to keep the NLRB at its current $274 million spending level, but the House measure would trim funding by about 5 percent. The House legislation also includes policy riders, such as a provision to undo an Obama-era NLRB decision that expanded “joint employer” liability for businesses in staffing, franchise, and other contractual relationships.

House, Senate Strike Deal on Partial Funding Package to Help Avert Shutdown

Lawmakers on Monday announced a deal to pass the first of three planned spending packages that could help avert or scale back a government shutdown in October. Appropriators on Capitol Hill submitted a conference report for a “minibus” consisting of three spending bills that lawmakers plan to pass this week, a move that would mark the first time in a decade that Congress has sent the president more than one spending bill ahead of the annual Sept. 30 deadline. Lawmakers from both chambers are in the process of negotiating another two minibus spending packages, which together would cover six spending bills and the vast majority of discretionary spending. Congressional Republicans decided to put off work on the three remaining spending bills, including the one that deals with President Trump's border wall, until after the November midterm elections. That means Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution to maintain current spending levels for any unpassed spending bills by Oct. 1, or face a government shutdown for the agencies funded by those measures. The compromise bill also removed funding for a project that would store the nation's nuclear waste in Nevada's Yucca Mountains, a controversial policy rider that was included in the House's version of the spending package.

GOP Faces Deadline Crunch as Threat of Losing House Deepens

The top priority remains funding the government. GOP leaders on Monday unveiled a final deal on their first “minibus” that funds energy and water projects and the VA. They had hoped to dispense with the bill last week but talks stalled over policy riders, including one helping vulnerable Washington state Republicans facing tough races. The House hopes to vote on the agreement this week, though a looming Category 4 hurricane could upend those plans if votes are canceled due to severe weather. Even if Republicans pass the first “minibus” this week, both chambers still need to hash out a deal on the most contentious spending package: a military, labor and health care spending bill, where the House’s more conservative view on abortion restrictions clashes sharply with the Senate’s vow not to include “poison pill” riders in spending bills. By sidelining the third “minibus” bill for now, GOP leaders hope they can get the defense-labor-health funding bill passed, since it includes the bulk of all government funding.

Thanks for Keeping Our Service Members First

In one of the last acts of his career, Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, kept the National Defense Authorization Act from being compromised by a dangerous anti-environmental rider. The NDAA, which is a must-pass bill, focuses on taking care of our military and their families by establishing a budget and expenditures for the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition to overseeing the funding for our military operations and readiness, the NDAA provides funding for the services, care and pay promised to our military personnel and their families. This year, some members of Congress tried to attach a controversial rider to the military funding bill on the sage grouse, which is a chicken-like bird that roams the American West. The rider claimed that the sage grouse impedes our military’s defense and readiness, yet there is no evidence to support the claim that the sage grouse is a threat to the greatest military on Earth.

What’s in the Final VA, Energy, Legislative Branch Minibus

Lawmakers agreed to a final version of a package covering Military Construction-VA, Energy and Water and Legislative Branch appropriations (H.R. 5895), top appropriators announced Monday afternoon. The measure “has bipartisan support, is free of poison pill riders and complies with the bipartisan budget agreement” on spending caps set in February, Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement. The package is the first of three bundles of spending legislation, comprising nine of the 12 appropriations bills, that lawmakers hope to see Trump sign before the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Clean Budget Coalition Urges Congress to Oppose Poison Pill Riders in Minibus I

The Clean Budget Coalition, an alliance of over 260 labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, civil rights, community, health, environmental, and public interest groups, writes to ask you to oppose all ideological poison pill policy riders in the conference language of Minibus I made up of the Legislative Branch, Energy & Water and Military Construction–Veterans Affairs appropriations bills.

Republicans Are Already Waving the White Flag on Border Wall Funding

Democrats were tight-lipped about spending negotiations on Wednesday, but members of the House Appropriations Committee pushed back against the idea that they wouldn’t get enough in exchange for their votes. “Who says we’re not playing hardball?” Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) asked HuffPost. “Have you been in any of those meetings?” When HuffPost asked about Democratic riders in the appropriations bills ― the policy prescriptions that lawmakers slip into spending legislation ― Serrano suggested that a larger role for Democrats was blocking GOP riders. Another senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), agreed that Democrats weren’t giving in to Republicans. “We’re going back and forth, but we’re not going to give up on anything that we feel strongly about,” she said. “Democrats are really fighting hard.”

Richard Shelby at Center of Battle That Could Shutdown Government

By all accounts, Shelby, who towers over many of his colleagues at well over 6 feet tall, has made remarkable progress thus far, with the Senate already passing nine of the 12 annual spending bills, including some that haven't been on the floor in years - all with overwhelming bipartisan support. It was made possible partly because Congress had already agreed to overall spending levels in an earlier deal. But Democrats also credit Shelby for making a decision early on to seek bipartisan support on all the spending bills by keeping poison-pill "policy riders" off them, even if it meant he would have to vote against amendments he personally supported, or inform fellow GOP senators that they could not use the bills to advance their pet causes.

House Republicans Stalling Appropriations 'Minibus' Package

Policy fights between House Republicans and nearly everyone else on Capitol Hill are slowing down final action on the first “minibus” package of annual spending bills, throwing in doubt a GOP plan to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1. One of the policy disputes is over a provision being pushed by Republicans in the Washington state delegation, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse. McMorris Rodgers — the No. 4 House Republicans and the top GOP female lawmaker in Congress — faces a tough reelection fight this year. The quarrel between House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee and the other “three corners” of the 2019 spending negotiations – House Democrats, plus Senate Republicans and Democrats – comes as GOP congressional leaders will tramp down to the White House on Wednesday to implore President Donald Trump not to provoke a government shutdown over border wall funding. Trump is seeking $5 billion for his controversial project next year, far more than Congress agreed to during negotiations earlier this year to end a prolonged funding fight. Against this backdrop, Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, top Republican on the Energy and Water subcommittee on Appropriations, said disputes over more than a dozen policy riders — including a provision that impacts salmon runs in the Columbia and Snake River in Washington State, McMorris Rodgers’ home state — have held up action on the first of the “minibus” conference reports, the $145 billion package that covers the Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch funding bills.