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Financial Services Appropriations Bill Is a Right-Wing Wish List

May 24, 2016

Financial Services Appropriations Bill Is a Right-Wing Wish List

Statement of Lisa Gilbert, Director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: Today, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee released its draft fiscal year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee on Wednesday. The U.S. Senate companion draft is expected later this week. The bill provides annual funding for the U.S. Treasury Department, the IRS, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other related agencies.

The draft financial services appropriations bill released today goes far beyond the scope of a government funding bill. It’s a right-wing wish list packed with congressional power grabs, special favors for ideologues and paybacks for big business donors that have no place in legislation to fund our government. Riders attached to this legislation would:

  • Prohibit the IRS from creating a clear definition of political activity that would allow nonprofits to engage in the democratic process while preventing mistakes and abuses in the IRS’ enforcement of electioneering laws;
  • Halt the president from important pending executive action requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending;
  • Stop the SEC from requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending to shareholders;
  • Strip the CFPB of its political independence by changing its source of funding and its leadership structure;
  • Create additional obstacles to a CFPB rule restricting forced arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, which allow corporations to rip off consumers with impunity;
  • Block the FCC from implementing its net neutrality rule to preserve an open and free Internet;
  • Require financial agencies to do onerous and redundant additional reporting to the detriment of vital consumer protections.

None of these provisions has anything to do with funding our government. Lawmakers and the president should reject this bill unless these and other inappropriate policy riders are removed.