Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro today released further information on the extraordinary number of unrelated legislative provisions (often referred to as "riders") contained in the Republican 2012 funding bill for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. This analysis supplements material released by DeLauro last month regarding the many damaging spending cuts in the bill. The Labor-HHS-Education bill suffers the most harmful cuts from the Romney-Ryan Budget, cuts that are borne out in this legislation.
DeLauro is the senior Democrat on the subcommittee responsible for funding the three aforementioned departments. That subcommittee approved the bill on July 18 over the strong objections of all Democratic members present, but the full committee has indefinitely postponed further consideration of the legislation.
Below is DeLauro's statement on the riders:
"Unfortunately, it seems public consideration for the Labor-HHS-Education funding bill has come to an abrupt halt. This is especially troubling when you consider it is the largest of the domestic appropriations bills and focuses on funding programs most critical to the everyday lives of American women, families, seniors, and children. The Republican Majority has proposed a bill that not only provides inadequate funding, but contains numerous provisions that will hurt Americans
"In many cases, the provisions deal with subjects about which the Appropriations Committee has neither the expertise nor the information to make informed judgments--things like the details of proper safety standards for grain elevators or roofing work, or the precise criteria to be used by the NLRB in determining who should be included in bargaining units for purposes of union representation elections.
"Most disturbing though, is that a great many of the new riders in this bill represent terrible policy. Had the Republican majority scheduled a committee markup, Democrats would have sought to amend many of the most problematic riders. We will strongly oppose their inclusion in any eventual appropriations bill, or a shorter term continuing resolution."
Just a few examples are:
The provision prohibiting use of funds to implement the Affordable Care Act;
The provision blocking further work on the Mine Safety and Health
Administration's coal dust rule, a rule which is designed to try to stem the resurgence of black lung disease among coal miners;
The provision prohibiting any funds from being provided to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates, thus interfering with patients' choice of health providers as well as ending support for some important health care services;
The provision allowing employers or health insurance plans to exclude coverage for any health care services they don't want to provide, by citing religious convictions or moral beliefs;
The provision prohibiting any spending on "patient-centered outcomes research", which is medical research designed to determine which treatments work best for which patients;
The series of provisions blocking Education Department rules that would put in place some reasonable minimum standards for for-profit colleges participating in federal student aid programs;
The provision prohibiting use of Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds by local public radio stations to acquire programs from National Public Radio--thus putting the government squarely in the middle of local programming decisions; and
The provision making extensive amendments to permanent law governing the rights of physicians to decline to participate in abortions, among other things by expanding this law to also cover insurance plans, hospitals, and other health care facilities.