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Public Citizen Experts Available to Comment on Congressional Battles Starting Next Week

Aug. 31, 2017

Public Citizen Experts Available to Comment on Congressional Battles Starting Next Week

When the U.S. Congress returns from its summer recess on Sept. 5, lawmakers will face a series of high-stakes legislative and political battles, many of which must be addressed before the end of the month to avoid catastrophic consequences.

Public Citizen’s experts are available to speak to the press about corporate influence in government, what’s at stake for workers, consumers, families and our environment, the importance of a strong regulatory system and how President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers are betraying their promises to “drain the swamp” and defend working families. The major fights this fall will include:

Funding Our Government Without Poison Pill Riders. Congress must pass appropriations legislation by Sept. 30 to avoid a costly and disruptive government shutdown. The GOP’s proposed budget slashes services and safeguards that protect our communities and families. Members have also proposed numerous poison pill policy riders to the underlying text and as amendments that are unrelated to the budget – such as a measure that would fund the controversial border wall and a proposed amendment that would stymie Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s suspected collusion with Russia. Many of the proposed poison pill policy riders are special favors for corporate donors and ideological extremists, and they have no place in government funding legislation.

Public Citizen’s experts Lisa Gilbert and Michell McIntyre can tell you how funding cuts would hurt Main Street Americans and why inappropriate riders do not belong in government funding legislation.

Avoiding a Catastrophic National Default. Congress must raise the debt ceiling by Sept. 29 to avoid a catastrophic national default. Some Republican lawmakers are demanding deep spending cuts or extraneous policy attachments in exchange for their votes. Trump’s appointment of anti-government extremist Mick Mulvaney to direct the White House budget office and Trump’s own advocacy for a “good shutdown” have led to concerns that the White House will not prioritize raising the debt limit.

Public Citizen’s experts Robert Weissman and Lisa Gilbert can tell you the reasons that a national default would ruin the full faith and credit of the United States and could trigger a global economic meltdown.

Saving Consumer Protections. By early November, the U.S. Senate must decide whether it will vote on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to strike down the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule to protect consumers. The rule protects the right of consumers to band together in class-actions when ripped off by banks and other financial institutions. This commonsense consumer protection is opposed by many of the GOP’s top corporate donors, even though it is strongly supported by voters in both parties.

Public Citizen’s experts Amanda Werner, Remington A. Gregg, Lisa Gilbert and Amit Narang can tell you about the need for strong consumer protections and what Americans will lose if the rule is repealed. They also can explain how the CRA process works and how Republican lawmakers are using it to pay back corporate donors.

Blocking Anti-Regulatory Legislation. Congress is considering several anti-regulatory proposals that would do lasting damage to our system of public protections or deregulate specific industries, such as Wall Street. These dangerous proposals include the Regulatory Accountability Act, the REINS Act and the Financial Choice Act – which would set the stage for any number of large-scale deregulatory disasters. Some conservatives are threatening to attach anti-regulatory legislation to other must-pass measures, such as the bill to raise the debt ceiling or to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Public Citizen’s experts Amit Narang, Michell McIntyre, Bart Naylor, Lisa Gilbert and Dan Dudis can tell you about the many harmful provisions in these bills, how they would hurt regular Americans and which industries are backing these proposals.

Stopping the Corporate Tax Grab. Republicans in Congress are collaborating with right-wing billionaire Koch brothers to cut taxes for millionaires, billionaires and big corporations. These same lawmakers also are proposing to overturn the Johnson Amendment, which protects the integrity of charities and religious institutions from manipulation for political ends.

Public Citizen’s experts Susan Harley and Lisa Gilbert can tell you how the GOP’s tax proposals will result in greater inequality, where the superrich become even richer at the expense of American families. Harley and Gilbert also can offer better approaches to regulating nonprofits engaged in political activity.

Read the full bios of Public Citizen’s experts; their titles are listed below. Please contact any of the individuals listed above to speak with these experts.

  • Robert Weissman is the president of Public Citizen.
  • Lisa Gilbert is the vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen.
  • Susan Harley is the deputy director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.
  • Dan Dudis is the director of Public Citizen’s U.S. Chamber Watch program.
  • Amit Narang is the regulatory policy advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.
  • Bart Naylor is the financial policy advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.
  • Remington A. Gregg is the civil justice and consumer counsel for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.
  • Michell McIntyre is the coalition manager for the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards (which is chaired by Public Citizen).
  • Amanda Werner is the arbitration campaign manager for Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform.