Get Your Ideology Out of Federal Budget, 178 Groups Say to Congress

Citing a lengthy list of “wildly inappropriate” provisions that have been attached to pending U.S. budget proposals, a coalition of 178 groups representing tens of millions of Americans is calling on President Barack Obama and Congress to oppose any federal appropriations bills that include “ideological” policy riders.

In a letter (pdf) sent Thursday to Obama and members of Congress, the organizations charge lawmakers with inserting controversial and unpopular measures—ones with “little or no connection to funding the government”—into must-pass legislation in order “to serve the narrow interests of particular industries at the expense of public health, safety, workers’ rights, financial security, science, and the environment.”

The missive, which is signed by a wide range of groups including Greenpeace, NAACP, National Organization for Women, Public Citizen, and United Steelworkers, describes such riders as “the new earmarks,” but notes they are even worse in that “they have vastly greater reach and consequence for the American people.”

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Many people are aware that the GOP is considering attaching a rider defunding Planned Parenthood to a government spending bill, despite the fact that the public opposes and Obama would veto such a measure. 

But there are many more examples, including proposals that would:

“With hundreds of outrageous policy riders, the 2016 appropriations bills look more like a Christmas wish list for big business than a serious federal budget,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “These riders are designed to do one thing: hijack the budget process to roll back basic protections for Main Street.”

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