Poison Pill Riders are Choking Our Legislation

Poison pill riders are having a moment in the spotlight on social media this week.  Public Citizen is joining with dozens of other organizations in calling for a federal budget without ideological riders, or policy proposals tacked on to important bills that couldn’t pass on their own.

The government is operating through September under a short-term funding bill passed earlier this year. Attempts were made to attach approximately 160 different poison pill riders to that bill. Ultimately, nearly all were stripped out, including funding for the border wall and cuts to Planned Parenthood. President Donald Trump is now threatening to shut down the government when the current budget runs out unless funding for a border wall is part of the deal.

For the upcoming budget a variety of poison pill riders are popping up on a host of issues that harm all Americans. Riders that threaten our air and water by lowering standards, riders that weaken our ability to protect children from tobacco products not to mention the riders that allow companies to rip off consumers and ones that attack women’s access to health care all appear in the mix for the next budget.

The budget isn’t the only bill that the Trump administration is considering attaching poison pill riders to. Unless action is taken, the day before the budget runs out, the country will go into default on its loans unless the debt ceiling limit is lifted.  Mixed messages from the Trump administration on riders have left lawmakers uncertain as to how it will pan out. Earlier this year, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney repeatedly called for substantial budget cuts to be attached to the debt ceiling bill. However, Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin directly contradicted Mulvaney and  advocated for a rider-free debt ceiling.

Ideological riders need to be stopped on all fronts, you can learn more about our fight against harmful poison pill riders at cleanbudget.org.