Oppose Riders in FY2011 Continuing Appropriations

Media 04.1,11

Recipient: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we urge you to oppose any riders in H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011. Congress should pass a continuing resolution that helps the most vulnerable Americans, while also ensuring that there is enough revenue to sustain our country’s recovery and invest in the future; it should not use the process as an opportunity to pass unrelated and controversial legislation.

As approved by the House, many of the provisions in the bill appear driven more by political ideology than a sincere interest in deficit reduction. We are particularly troubled by many of the provisions, including the following of H.R. 1:1

  • “Gainful Employment” Rule: H.R. 1 blocks the Department of Education from issuing or enforcing its proposed “gainful employment” rule, eliminating accountability for career colleges that educate 10 percent of higher education students, receive approximately 24 percent of federal grants and loans, and account for 48 percent of defaults.

  • District of Columbia Home Rule: Without even a single vote on behalf of District of Columbia residents, H.R. 1 prohibits D.C. from spending its local own taxpayer-raised funds on needle exchange programs and abortions for low-income women, and reimposes the D.C. private school voucher program. Had such legislation been attempted with respect to any other locality in the country, it would have sparked incalculable outrage.

  • Repeal of Open Internet Rules: H.R. 1 repeals the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet rules, including those that prevent the private blocking of constitutionally protected speech. This causes significant harm, particularly to the constituencies represented by our member organizations, and diverts attention from other critical media and telecommunications issues that are so vital to our nation’s economic and civic life.

  • Health Services for Women and Girls: H.R. 1 prohibits any federal funding from being made available to Planned Parenthood Foundation of America, Inc. (PPFA), or any of its affiliates, for any health care services whatsoever for women and girls. This ideologically-driven attack on PPFA is unnecessary, as existing law already prohibits federal funding from being used to pay for abortions and will instead wipe out a range of other vital health care services.

  • Equal Access to Justice Fees: H.R. 1 prohibits any federal funds from being distributed under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). This will deprive people – including seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, small business owners and farmers – who cannot afford a lawyer from being represented against the federal government, when the government acts illegally against them.

Again, we urge you to stand firm in opposing any riders to H.R. 1. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact Senior Counsel Rob Randhava at (202) 466-6058.


Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President

1 This is only a partial list of provisions in H.R. 1 that we find highly problematic.