People For the American Way

Groups Renew Call for No Poison Pill Policy Riders

People For in Action
Groups Renew Call for No Poison Pill Policy Riders

People For the American Way is among nearly 150 Clean Budget Coalition supporters renewing their call to keep spending measures free of poison pill policy riders. Unpopular, unnecessary, partisan provisions that get tacked on in secret have nothing to do with government funding and everything to do with undermining essential programs in order to fill a special interest wish list. Poison pill policy riders also stand in stark contrast to emergency needs that are going unmet, like extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), providing disaster relief, and protecting Dreamers once and for all. You can download the coalition’s January 11 letter, with signers, here.

Dear Members of Congress,

We, the undersigned organizations as a part of the Clean Budget Coalition, write to ask you to oppose any FY 2018 omnibus or other spending measure which includes ideological poison pill policy riders.

The majority in Congress are quietly trying to slip in special interest wish list items via poison pill riders into the year-end funding packages.

Appropriations bills continue to be misused to undermine essential safeguards through partisan poison pill “policy riders”—provisions that address extraneous and unpopular policy issues. Slipping unrelated and damaging issues into must-pass appropriations bills as a means to win approval is a dangerous strategy for the public.

Poison pill riders are unpopular as standalone legislation, and the public opposes using them to roll back public protections. The American people support policies to:

  • Restrain Wall Street abuses;
  • Ensure safe and healthy food and products;
  • Secure our air, land, water and wildlife;
  • Safeguard fair and safe workplaces;
  • Guard against consumer rip-offs and corporate wrongdoing;
  • Defend our campaign finance and election systems;
  • Provide access to justice and fair housing;
  • Protect civil rights; and
  • Guarantee continued access to vital health care services including reproductive health care, and more.

The Majority budget is rigged for billionaires and big business and could be especially dangerous when combined with their tax plan which features deep cuts that endanger our health and safety, our workplaces and wallets, as well as, our environment and our economy. In addition, any omnibus passed through Congress must go far beyond the obviously inadequate sequester funding levels, to robustly fund agencies and programs to protect the public.

There is an indisputable difference between partisan policy riders that hurt the public and popular policy solutions that are necessary and will help many. Policy solutions with broad bipartisan support are not only appropriate; they are necessary to address urgent situations or to extend essential services. Examples include extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), providing disaster funding to deal with catastrophic storms and wildfires, and protecting Dreamers.

We urge Members of Congress to support increasing the spending caps to fund pivotal programs for the American people with parity between defense and nondefense funds, while opposing any flawed omnibus that includes poison pill policy riders.