CHN commends Senate’s appropriations vote; urges future House-Senate conferees to avoid poison pill amendments
Editor’s note: Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, issued the following statement Friday, Aug. 24 in response to Senate passage of the combined $854 billion Labor-HHS-Defense-Education appropriations bill.
“We commend Senate passage of the Labor-HHS-Defense-Education appropriations bill on a bipartisan 85-7 vote. The bill includes additional resources for child care and for substance abuse treatment, including money for the nation’s tragic opioid crisis.
“It is also important to note what the bill does not include. It does not include ‘poison pill’ riders, many of which were passed by the House. It does not include an attempt to undermine the Flores agreement, which prevents migrant children and their families from being detained for more than 20 days.
“Unfortunately, the legislation passed by the Senate does include too much spending for the Pentagon, including spending on programs that the military and Trump Administration do not need and have not asked for. While funding for many human needs programs has languished since 2010, Pentagon spending has increased by ten percent in the past two years alone.
“Examples of excessive spending abound. For example, the bill approved Thursday evening contains funds for two Littoral Combat Ships, which have been deemed quite vulnerable to attack and unsafe in combat areas. The estimated $475 million cost of dropping one Littoral Combat Ship alone could pay for nearly all of the funding lost since 2010 in job training for adults, youth, and displaced workers – with the added benefit of putting fewer U.S. service members in harm’s way. Both the House and Senate include wasteful Pentagon spending; the House, for example, funded three new Littoral Combat Ships.
“The Senate bill is far preferable to the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations approved by the House Committee on Appropriations. When the Senate and House work on finalizing FY 2019 appropriations next month, the Senate should point to its strong, bipartisan 85-7 vote and hold firm against the House’s more damaging approach. The Senate deserves congratulations for enacting funding for health, labor, and education programs. At long last, Congress can approve the funding in time if the House drops its insistence on poison pill riders and agrees to adequate investments to meet human needs.”