Members of Congress opposed to environmental protections often attach provisions undermining key laws that protect our air, land, water and wildlife to unrelated bills.
Since these damaging and controversial provisions often would not survive public scrutiny or a floor vote in the full House or Senate as stand-alone legislation, proponents seek to attach them to larger pieces of legislation that absolutely must pass, such as appropriations bills that are necessary to keep the government running. They are called “policy riders” because they “ride along” on these larger must-pass bills.
Through riders proposed in appropriations bills, recent sessions of Congress have attacked every major environmental law. As part of our active and ongoing work to oppose anti-environmental riders, Defenders of Wildlife, with input from many other environmental organizations, coordinates the development of comprehensive lists of riders being advanced on various annual appropriations bills so that lawmakers – and their constituents – know exactly what is at stake each time they vote.