Cleaning the Corporate Dirt from the GOP Budget

While Donald Trump is busy appointing corporate lobbyists and white supremacists to key positions on his staff, Congress remains in session. Lawmakers are now working on a budget that could make or break the balance sheet for families.

Yet again, the GOP Congress failed to pass a budget in early fall, passing a continuing resolution that funds the federal government only through Dec. 9. With Congress back in session after the elections, lawmakers are tasked once again with drawing up a budget.

On Wednesday, the Clean Budget Coalition visited every member of Congress to defend that budget against right-wing giveaways to corporations and vicious attacks on the rights of women and people of color.

To date, the GOP has attached hundreds of riders to fiscal year 2017 funding legislation. Many of these have nothing to do with the federal budget and everything to do with opening the floodgates to even more corporate profiteering. Among the riders are moves to let corporations shield political spending from shareholders, get out of new overtime pay rules, and pollute drinking water for one-third of people in the country.

But it doesn’t stop there. Right-wingers are also using the appropriations process to try to sneak ideological attacks past the American people – attacks such as blocking access to contraception, exclude non-citizens from the Census and let landlords discriminate on race.

Other riders would:

  • * Block the President from requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending;
  • * Create additional obstacles to a rule restricting forced arbitration clauses, which allow corporations to rip off consumers with impunity;
  • * Allow financial advisers to continue providing advice that lines their own pockets while ripping off workers saving for retirement advice to workers saving for retirement;
  • * Block the Net Neutrality rule, which keeps the Internet a level playing field
  • * Delay measures to protect public infrastructure from flooding; and
  • * Block a rule that protects more than two million workers from deadly silica dust.

Slipped into federal appropriations legislation, most of these riders never reach the light of day during budget debates – a tactic the right-wing uses to shield wildly unpopular corporate payoffs from public scrutiny. The Clean Budget Coalition, which includes hundreds of community organizations nationwide, has been examining the budget legislation to uncover these riders and keep the public informed and active.

In May, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and colleagues rallied other members of Congress to put their foot down.

“Lobbyists for big corporations are swarming the halls of Congress, working to slip provisions into must-pass government funding bills to roll back Wall Street reform and to weaken rules protecting workers, consumers and the environment,” Warren said. “Our message today is clear: If the lobbyists and their Republican friends think they can get away with using government funding bills to do the bidding of big banks and giant corporations, think again. We’re ready to fight back.”

The Clean Budget Coalition is asking President Obama to heed Sen. Warren’s call, take a strong stand on such riders, and use his last days in office to oppose these right-wing corporate giveaways and underhanded attacks on workers, immigrants and women.

Thursday morning, the GOP Congress announced its intention to push through yet another temporary funding bill, which would give corporations and ideological right-wingers another chance to grab more giveaways. Congress should pass a complete budget now – a budget that puts all our families first.

And this move provides President Obama all the more reason to demand a complete, clean budget, setting an example for the kind of leadership our country will need as we transition to a Trump presidency that is already aligning itself with corporations and white supremacists.

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