By Michell McIntyre, Public Citizen
It’s Halloween and the ghouls and ghosts are out raising hell. However, some flying monkeys from a variety of villains resurfaced earlier this year and have been wreaking havoc for months and will continue to do so if something isn’t done.
When it comes to the budget deal, poison pill riders are the flying monkeys of the political world; out to do the bidding of big business, the Chamber of Commerce and other special interests. Ideological riders are provisions that address extraneous and unpopular policy issues and are often slipped into unrelated must-pass bills – including this year’s appropriations package – as a way to strong arm approval for treacherous ideas that result in a dangerous strategy for the American public.
Time and time again, the American people support policies to restrain Wall Street abuses and to provide access to justice, to prevent consumer rip-offs and corporate wrongdoing, to protect our health and environment, and to defend and improve our campaign finance and election systems; yet zombie riders keep coming back from the dead. They’re almost impossible to kill and conservative legislators do everything they can to keep them alive.
For examples of these zombie riders that benefit big business look to the provision that would prevent the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from finalizing popular new rules to require public corporations to disclose their political spending to shareholders, or to the rider that would make it harder for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to do its job by attempting to ‘restructure’ it. The CFPB is the only agency focused exclusively on protecting consumers’ financial interests. In this age of corporate wrongdoing, when companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax are putting consumers in harm’s way, consumers need the CFPB to fight for them and the public’s interest.
Unfortunately, the longer the riders are left unchecked, the more they seem to multiply. Most of this current crop of undead riders came out of the haunted House of Representatives while others are held over from previous Appropriation cycles making them harder to kill than vampires.
Vampire riders seek to suck the life blood out of working families by halting the enforcement of the Department of Labor’s final fiduciary rule, which would ensure that financial advisors work in their clients’ best interests instead of lining their pockets. Vampire riders also seek to drain the life out of protected wildlife like the riders that seek to strip protections for animals currently under the Endangered Species Act, undermining the scientific basis of those decisions.
We need our own Buffy the Vampire Slayer to battle against these zombie and vampires riders, but we also need you. In the coming months, the Senate needs to stand up against these henchmen of big business, the Chamber and other special interests and put the well being of all Americans first, and they need to hear from their voters that they want a clean budget without these add-ons. Because if not, the big orange pumpkin the in the White House will sign these zombie and vampire riders into law.