19 environmental groups sent the following letter to the U.S. House today in opposition to H.R. 5525
September 29, 2023
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Please oppose H.R. 5525, which would cut federal non-defense spending by 30 percent and debilitate efforts to protect our communities, health, lands, wildlife, air, water, and oceans and advance environmental justice.
On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, the undersigned groups urge you to oppose H.R. 5525, the so-called Spending Reduction and Border Security Act.
Extreme lawmakers have repeatedly used looming fiscal crises to extract unreasonable concessions that harm our environment and our communities. Environmental agencies and programs still suffer from a decade of draconian spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act, which demonstrated that inadequate top-line funding levels harm communities, particularly those communities of color and of low wealth that are disproportionately exposed to health harms, and ecosystems alike. The Fiscal Responsibility Act, enacted earlier this year, further cut or limited necessary investments and weakened longstanding, effective environmental law as a ransom for averting default. H.R. 5525 reneges on the debt limit deal by further cutting non-defense agencies by 30 percent. This would have a disastrous impact on critical environmental work, among other necessary federal programs. In exchange, federal agencies would stay open for one additional month before another shutdown looms, which could be similarly leveraged by extreme House members once again. Approval of H.R. 5525 would have deep, lasting impacts well beyond the 31-day extension offered in return.
H.R. 5525 also includes extreme, racist, partisan anti-immigrant proposals that would exacerbate challenges at the border, cut off vital humanitarian protections in violations of international obligations as well as the nation’s values, and hamper the ability of the Department of Homeland Security to process noncitizens and otherwise properly manage the border.
Government shutdowns are harmful to the environment and communities alike, particularly communities of low wealth and communities of color. As we witnessed with the debt limit earlier this year, this bill once again represents an untenable and irresponsible hostage-taking exercise. Our groups urge Congress to pass a clean continuing resolution—without budget cuts or policy riders—to keep our government open while negotiating a full-year appropriations package that does not harm people and treasured places.
Again, we urge you to REJECT H.R. 5525, the so-called Spending Reduction and Border Security Act, which would threaten the progress we have made and need to continue to make on tackling the climate, environmental justice, and biodiversity crises.
League of Conservation Voters
Alaska Wilderness League Action
American Hiking Society
Defenders of Wildlife
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Working Group
Friends of the Earth
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Southwest Research and Information Center
The Wilderness Society
Trust for Public Land
Union of Concerned Scientists
Western Watersheds Project