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Senior Lawmakers and Clean Budget Coalition Leaders Urge Congress to Reject Poison Pill Appropriations Riders

May 18, 2016

Press Contacts:

Sen. Chuck Schumer: Matt House,, (202) 224-2939
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Lacey Rose,, (202) 224-2292
Rep. Rosa DeLauro: Ron Boehmer,, (202) 225-3661
League of Conservation Voters: Seth Stein,, (202) 454-4573
Public Citizen: David Rosen,, (202) 588-7742
Planned Parenthood Action Fund: Devon Kearns,, (202) 973-4985
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: Scott Simpson,, (202) 466-2061
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees: Omar Tewfik,, (202) 429-3147
Service Employees International Union: Virginia Rodino,, (202) 730-7229


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republicans in Congress should keep ideological riders out of federal funding legislation. U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), and leaders of the Clean Budget Coalition called on Congress to keep poison pill riders out of the regular appropriations process in a press call today.

Despite a pledge to conduct the appropriations process through regular order, some lawmakers have insisted on including sweetheart deals for big corporations and special favors for ideological extremists that could not become law on their own merits.

In recent weeks, these kinds of riders nearly derailed the U.S. Senate Energy and Water spending bill; in the U.S. House of Representatives, poison pill riders already included in various spending bills threaten to further complicate an already challenging budget process.

In March, five top-ranking U.S. senators signed a letter (PDF) rejecting poison pill riders. And in April, 172 members of the U.S. House of Representatives called on the leadership to pass a clean budget, while the White House signaled its disapproval of riders.

Below are statements from members of Congress and coalition leaders:


Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.):
“I hope Republicans will work with Democrats to pass appropriations bills that are free of ideological, poison pill riders. The appropriations processes shouldn’t be hijacked by attempts to roll back Wall Street reform, critical environmental protections or other policies that benefit middle class families. Attempting to tack unrelated policies that deserve their own debate in the light of day onto appropriations bills will grind the process to a halt and prevent good bills from moving forward. If our colleagues on the other side of the aisle want the appropriations process to work, they’ll resist the urge to offer poison pill amendments in the weeks ahead.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.):
“Lobbyists for big corporations are swarming the halls of Congress, working to slip provisions into must-pass government funding bills to roll back Wall Street reform and to weaken rules protecting workers, consumers and the environment. Our message today is clear: If the lobbyists and their Republican friends think they can get away with using government funding bills to do the bidding of big banks and giant corporations, think again. We’re ready to fight back.”

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.):
“The ideological riders being pushed by Republicans have no place in the appropriations bills. Despite our successes in keeping a number of dangerous provisions out of the bills, we are still fighting to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions, and the Dickey Amendment, which has frozen federal research on gun violence. These are not the priorities of the American people—and to include them in the nation’s funding bills is deceitful and wrong.”

Gene Karpinski, president, League of Conservation Voters:
“Extreme, ideological riders have no place in the appropriations process and will only add to the gridlock that could eventually cause another government shutdown. Poison pill riders represent a serious threat to environmental protections, like riders that have attacked the Clean Water Rule, endangered species protections and clean air safeguards in recent years. It’s time for Republican leaders to abandon these riders and pass a clean budget that fully funds the environmental safeguards that protect our air, water, lands and wildlife—not one that attacks those protections with anti-environmental policy riders.”

Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen:
“There is overwhelming public support for Wall Street reform and campaign finance measures, but giant corporations and their congressional allies are hoping to defeat public sentiment by rigging the government funding process. Unfortunately for Big Business, the American people are wise to the scheme and won’t let it succeed.”

Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“This year it’s time for politicians to do their job, pass a clean budget without harmful policy riders and get back to work. Americans, including Planned Parenthood’s over 2.5 million patients, deserve better than this callous politicking that is putting access to vital health care services at risk. Planned Parenthood is proud to stand with these leading organizations in calling for a clean budget devoid of harmful riders that do little but bring down our process and harm Americans.”

Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:
“Ideological policy riders have no place in appropriations bills. If members of Congress want to enact a boorish and backwards policy agenda, like reversing fair housing regulations, stoking anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiments, or supporting LGBT discrimination by federal contractors, they should do it plain sight and not snuck into behemoth spending bills.”

Scott Frey, director of federal government affairs, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees:
“AFSCME strongly opposes policy riders, especially those that would target working families and block measures to ensure workplace protections, fair labor practices, fair pay and retirement security. Congress should do its job and invest in our communities to rebuild roads and bridges, upgrade schools, ensure safe drinking water and create middle-class jobs, rather than promote political agendas above working people.”

John Gray, director of legislation, Service Employees International Union:
“Riders from the Republican leadership are another example of how they rig the rules in favor of the wealthy few, at the expense of working people. Congress should do its job and fund the government with no riders.”