Public interest groups stir budget fight

President Obama will unveil his 2017 budget proposal on Tuesday, but the fight over what to include in the government funding request is already beginning.

Public interest groups are concerned about controversial provisions in the budget — known as policy riders — that could roll back health, environment and safety protections.


The Clean Budget Coalition, which is made up of more than 100 public interest groups, sent a letter Monday to the White House and Congress, urging them to agree on a “clean” budget that rejects these policy riders.

"The American people support policies to restrain Wall Street abuses and ensure safe and healthy food and products, to protect our air, land, water and wildlife, to ensure safe and fair workplaces, to prevent consumer rip-offs and corporate wrongdoing, to create fair rules of the road for our campaign finance system, to provide access to justice and to ensure continued access to vital health care services,” the letter reads.

These so-called policy riders often represent “sweetheart deals for big corporations,” the letter continues.

Policy riders have “little or nothing to do with funding the government,” the groups argue. They “could not become law on their own merits,” but have a better chance of succeeding when attached to must-pass government spending bills.

"Ideological riders are measures that the public opposes, and that the president would likely veto as standalone legislation,” they wrote.