The League of Conservation Voters led 16 environmental organizations in sending the below letter to the United States Senate urging the below vote recommendations for amendments to S. Amdt 1092 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies) to H.R. 4366, the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations bill when they come up for votes. The League of Conservation Voters will strongly consider including votes related to these amendments in our 2023 National Environmental Scorecard.
October 25, 2023
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Re: Amendment Vote Recommendations on S. Amdt 1092 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies) to H.R. 4366, the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations bill.
On behalf of our millions of members and supporters the undersigned groups make the following vote recommendations supporting two and opposing four amendments to S. Amdt 1092 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies) to H.R. 4366, the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bill. While not all undersigned organizations work directly on each of these issues, we appreciate your consideration of these pro-environmental positions.
Thank you for your consideration,
League of Conservation Voters
Natural Resources Defense Council
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
Center for Biological Diversity
Climate Action Campaign
Endangered Species Coalition
Environmental Defense Fund
Interfaith Power and Light
Plug In America
Union of Concerned Scientists
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
1115. Stabenow (MI). The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Program (OUAIP) has been critical in supporting food waste reduction projects across the country, through the Compost and Food Waste Reduction grants. OUAIP also does important work supporting urban, small-scale, and innovative producers with growing, processing and selling. This amendment would restore $8.5 million in funding for OUAIP for FY2024.
1175. Booker (NJ). The USDA’s Rural Decentralized Water Systems program provides an opportunity to address rural sanitation challenges, improving access to clean, reliable water and septic systems. The Booker amendment would transfer $15 million to the program, with at least $10 million of that funding to be provided to low-income households as sub-grants for decentralized water systems.
1121. Lee (UT). This amendment includes many of the misguided provisions of the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2023, which represents a radical threat to our government’s ability to protect the public from harm. The amendment’s aim is to halt the implementation of critical safeguards for workers, families, communities, and the environment, making industry even less accountable to the public. It would do nothing to improve protections for people in the U.S., rather it would benefit corporate polluters that wish to game the system and evade standards.
1237. Rubio (FL). Blocking cost-saving measures that reduce energy costs and the total cost of living for families who are most sensitive to rising prices – those in government supported housing – is the opposite of what people need as fossil fuel companies are raking in record profits. Adopting the proposed energy code saves an average of $14,536 over the life of a single-family home, and over $5,000 per multifamily unit compared to current code requirements. The additional cost of the new code requirements is only 2 percent of the average cost of a new home under the programs, paying for itself in less than 3 years on average.
1241. Cramer (ND). The transportation sector emits the most climate pollution of any sector in the U.S., and rules aiming to reduce emissions are critical to meeting our commitments to reduce climate pollution across the country and advancing environmental justice particularly for near-roadway communities. Reducing emissions also helps save money for folks across the sector and reduces our reliance on volatile and expensive fossil fuels.
1243. Budd (NC).This amendment seeks ‘to prohibit the use of funds to implement or enforce Executive Order 14019’, which represents an attack on updates on access to voting. President Biden’s Executive Order on Access to Voting is a critical effort to increase nonpartisan voter registration and participation among eligible Americans. This amendment would not only thwart common-sense, good government efforts to better serve voters of all stripes, but also frustrate the goals of the decades-old, bipartisan National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Congress itself found that it is the duty of federal, state, and local governments to promote the exercise of the fundamental right to vote when it passed the NVRA 30 years ago. The amendment’s aim is to halt the implementation of critical updates to protect the right to vote by exploiting the existing obstacles in voter registration, the lack of election information and barriers to polling places. It would further limit access to language assistance, continue the barriers people with disabilities face to vote and maintain the challenges members of the military and other citizens living abroad to exercise their right to vote. It would do nothing to protect our election system and the integrity of the vote.
1296. Cruz (TX). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plays a crucial role in keeping families safe all across the country, implementing its mission “to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement”. This personal financial attack on NHTSA’s Acting Administrator, Ann Carlson, is unwarranted and would undermine the agency’s efforts to make our roadways safer and less costly. Top officials directing important federal government business should be fairly paid for their work, and this or any other attacks on government officials’ compensation should be rejected.
1347. Paul (KY).This amendment would substantially cut critical agriculture programs in this bill by more than 30%, including NRCS Conservation Operations, the Farm Service Agency, the Agriculture Research Service, and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, hobbling the ability of USDA to deliver oversubscribed Inflation Reduction Act programs to farmers who are lining up for the support. It also cuts one of the critical pieces of funding our transition to clean energy – IRS enforcement – which also helps crack down on oil and gas executives, hedge fund managers, and other billionaires cheating on their taxes.