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Poison Pills Don’t Belong in Spending Bills, Whether They’re Old or New

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional lawmakers on Thursday night passed a short-term continuing resolution, extending the government funding deadline to March 11. Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen and co-chair of the Clean Budget Coalition, released the following statement:

“With passage of the CR though March 11, it’s critical that Congress finish appropriating in the next few weeks, pass a spending package that fully funds the important public services and federal agencies that protect us, and remove all poison pill riders whether they are new or old. We’re asking lawmakers to make it a priority to remove harmful legacy riders that have been added to past appropriations bills.

“Here’s the bottom line: Poison pills do not belong in spending bills. These harmful measures threaten women’s health, our campaign finance system, our environment, children, and much more. People across the nation have always opposed the abuse of the annual budget process to roll back public protections, sneak through special favors for big corporations, and create loopholes that hinder accountability. Congress has an opportunity – for the first time in many years – to pass a clean budget and put the focus of the appropriations process back where it belongs: on funding our government and advancing the public interest.

“Among the legacy riders that should be removed are three particularly noxious attacks on our campaign finance system. One stops a requirement that publicly traded companies disclose their political spending to shareholders; a second one blocks a requirement that government contractors must disclose their political spending; and a third prevents standards that clearly define what nonprofits can and cannot do in elections. These legacy riders do nothing but fuel political corruption, none of them ever belonged in annual spending bills, and they should be kept out.

“Many harmful legacy riders were removed from the draft FY 22 appropriations bills both chambers proposed last year, and lawmakers deserve applause for getting rid of these special favors. Now Congress needs to stick firmly to the principle that spending bills are no place for poison pills.”