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April 27, 2017

A Washington Miracle: Bipartisan Rhetoric on No Poison Pill Riders; a CR Still to Come?

Statement of Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Public Citizen

It’s a Washington miracle. Over the past 48 hours, we’ve seen a rare instance of bipartisan rhetoric that there should be no poison pill riders in the 2017 congressional budget agreement.

Leaders on both sides of the aisle – including U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi – have signaled their opposition to policy riders. It also appears that nearly everyone in Washington, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump, would prefer to avoid a government shutdown at the end of this week.

While McConnell may have been playing political games and jabbing Democrats, the substance of his rhetoric is correct: there should be no poison pills in the budget deal. Every last one of these special favors for special interests must be removed right now.

Riders rumored to be on the table would roll back a requirement that financial advisers act in the best interest of their clients, remove protections for endangered species and public lands, block a rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending to shareholders and allow insurers and health care providers to refuse coverage of certain procedures based on moral objections.

These measures – and others that remain sticking points in the budget negotiations – have nothing to do with funding our government and have virtually no public support. By insisting on them, lawmakers are risking a disruptive and costly shutdown that nobody wants.

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