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Appropriations Bills Should Exclude Legacy Riders That Harm the Public

Statements From Clean Budget Coalition Leaders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Appropriations bills in both chambers of Congress should exclude legacy poison pill riders that harm the public, groups in the Clean Budget Coalition are telling federal lawmakers. Legacy riders, added to appropriations bills in past budget cycles and held over to the current one, have nothing to do with funding our government and do not belong in spending legislation, the coalition said.

Appropriators in the U.S. House of Representatives already removed legacy riders from their spending bills, and their counterparts in the U.S. Senate should leave them out, the coalition maintains. Members of the Clean Budget Coalition provided the following statements on specific legacy riders that lawmakers should remove:

“Secret political spending is a huge problem that the public wants to see fixed, and the road to doing so should not be stymied by legacy riders. Shareholders want to understand how the companies they invest in are spending in politics, and nonprofit organizations need to understand what they can and cannot do in politics – but legacy riders are standing in the way. The House already removed the poison pills blocking these important policies, and the Senate should keep them out.”

  • Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, Public Citizen

“These funding bills are critical for our environmental safeguards and our public lands, communities and economy; and these antiquated and damaging legacy riders threaten that funding while wreaking havoc on the ground. Whether the plummeting sage grouse populations in the West, or continued poisoning of bald eagles from lead ammunition, these riders bypass the regular legislative process only to impart real damage on our environment. It’s past time for them to go.”

  • Jonathan Asher, director of government relations, The Wilderness Society

“The Harris and Hyde riders yet again are attempting to turn Congress into a 535-person city council. The residents of the District of Columbia can govern ourselves and make our own decisions about how we spend locally raised dollars. Members of Congress should focus on the needs of their constituents instead of pretending that they have any interest in the well-being of Washingtonians.”

  • Bo Shuff, executive director, DC Vote

“Lead ammo and fishing tackle poison wildlife and people every day. This dangerous, backwards rider is a gift to the NRA and the gun lobby. Removing this deadly provision from legislation funding the government should be a no-brainer.”

  • Brett Hartl, government affairs director, Center for Biological Diversity

“The fossil fuel industry’s lackeys in Congress are once again trying to hamstring the environmental policies of two government agencies – the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation – and to give billions of taxpayer dollars to some of the dirtiest energy projects. If the U.S. ever expects to do its climate fair share, it must stop financing all fossil fuel projects abroad.”

  • Kate DeAngelis, senior international policy analyst, Friends of the Earth

“The rider blocking protections for greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act has become a favorite of anti-wildlife legislators in Congress. As the Trump administration continues to permit increased drilling and mining in critical grouse habitat, Congress must come to the aid of this imperiled bird. We urge conservation champions to stand up, speak out and remove the sage-grouse rider from the final FY 2020 funding bill.”

  • Mark Salvo, vice president of landscape conservation, Defenders of Wildlife

“The legacy budget rider declaring burning forests for energy as ‘carbon-neutral’ flies in the face of science and is straight up corporate welfare for the biomass industry. It’s time to clean up the budget of anti-environmental riders and end the biomass boondoggle.”

  • Laura Haight, U.S. policy director, Partnership for Policy Integrity

“Greater sage-grouse populations across the range are in steep decline as a result of continued habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation – caused by oil and gas development, road and power line developments, grazing and other human disturbances. The backstop of the Endangered Species Act is essential to ensure adequate conservation standards and proper management of the public lands that harbor the last strongholds of sage grouse. We appreciate that the House-passed Interior bill no longer prohibits regulation of lead ammunition and fishing sinkers that needlessly kill 16 million birds each year. The use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle can help reduce unintentional mortality from lead poisoning, which pose a particular risk to raptors and scavengers such as the endangered California condor and our national symbol the bald eagle.”

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

“Members of Congress must act now to eliminate the Hyde and Weldon Amendments from the LHHS appropriations bill. For too long, these riders have restricted abortion access. We must eliminate these harmful restrictions and ensure that our country is a place where everyone can access the health care they need, including abortion, no matter their income or source of insurance, with dignity and without shame.”

  • Rachel Easter, senior counsel, National Women’s Law Center

“The Senate should adopt the direction taken by the House and drop all of the poison pill riders which have crept in over time. That includes eliminating an inappropriate rider declaring that biomass burning for electric generation is carbon neutral, as well as one that endangers the greater sage grouse by barring listing through the Endangered Species Act. Congressional funding bills should instead be used to fully fund the programs that promote a healthy nation by protecting our land, water, wildlife and human health.”

  • Kirin Kennedy, deputy legislative director, Sierra Club