June 12, 2024

Forty-One Senators Urge Appropriations Leaders to Reject Harmful Anti-Environment Policy Riders

The senators warn that poison pills harming the environment and public health would undermine Senate’s ability to pass spending bills on a bipartisan basis

Washington, DC – Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) led 38 colleagues in urging Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Vice-Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) to keep destructive anti-environment policy provisions out of Senate appropriations packages.

These policy “riders” typically do not affect federal spending, and instead aim to make changes to laws that would not withstand the scrutiny of regular-order congressional debate and would not advance without being attached to must-pass measures like appropriations bills.

“House Republicans have their sights set on loading up their partisan spending bills with anti-environment poison pills to curry favor with fossil fuel donors.  Handouts to Big Oil have no business in any spending deal, and the Senate must reject these brazen attempts to strip away bedrock environmental protections” said Whitehouse.

“Our focus should remain on keeping our waters clean, our air pure, and our land healthy.  We must fund our essential environmental programs without attaching harmful policy riders that undermine our nation’s bedrock environmental laws,” said Cardin.  “We can have healthy debates on policy issues, but they should not be rammed through without discussion on appropriations bills.”“We need to focus on writing government funding legislation that doesn’t include the addition of new controversial policy riders and harmful anti-environment poison pills.  This is the pathway to bipartisan cooperation and passage of these bills,” said Merkley.

Several of the partisan spending bills already passed or released by House Republicans have included riders aimed at weakening safeguards for our air, water, and federal lands.  These controversial and dangerous anti-environment riders circumvent regular order in Congress and could threaten the shutdown of the federal government.

Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tina Smith (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Peter Welch (D-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Gary Peters (D-MI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) cosigned the letter.

Full text of the senators’ letter is below.  A PDF copy of the letter is available here.

June 11, 2024

Dear Chair Murray and Vice Chair Collins,

Thank you for your ongoing work on Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) appropriations bills. Each year the appropriations process presents opportunities for bipartisan support and funding for our most vital environmental programs. To help maintain regular order and ensure continued bipartisan support, we urge you to keep the FY25 appropriations bills free of any controversial, antienvironmental policy riders.

The inclusion of unrelated provisions has undermined the Senate’s ability in previous years to pass funding measures. We must stay vigilant and keep senseless, harmful, environmental policy riders out of FY25 appropriations bills.

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921