Shelby: Democrats' Partisan Bills Threaten FY23 Appropriations Process

Vice Chairman Warns: FY23 Appropriations Process Imperiled by Democrats’ Failure to Adhere to Bipartisan Framework and Seriously Invest in Defense

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today released the following statement regarding Senate Democrats’ posting of partisan Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) appropriations bills.


“Here we go again.  Like last year, Senate Democrats have unveiled partisan appropriations bills that spend billions more than even the Administration’s wasteful request.  These drafts fail to appropriately allocate resources to our national defense, remove important legacy riders that enjoyed broad, bipartisan support just four months ago, and are filled with poison pills.  They have even taken the drastic step of providing hundreds of millions of dollars for taxpayer-financed abortions.


“Democrats know the path to a successful appropriations process, but today they chose to move in a different direction.  If we are going to get full year bills during this Congress, Democrats must commit to a bipartisan framework that abandons poison pills, preserves legacy riders, and demonstrates a serious commitment to our military.  Wasteful, off-budget spending that fuels inflation will be a non-starter.  Today’s effort shows we have a long way to go.  Democrats need to get serious or, regrettably, I believe we will end up with a long-term CR.” stated Vice Chairman Shelby.


Senate Democrats’ partisan bills include a number of provisions that are non-starters for Republicans, including:


  • Misplaced Spending Priorities: The bills continue the Democrats’ trend of spending recklessly on domestic programs while shortchanging investments in our national defense.
    • On the non-defense side, the bills would increase spending by almost 16% over the last fiscal year – an increase of more than $110 billion.
      • This increase includes billions in off-budget “emergency” spending, such as more than $20 billion in COVID funding that should be financed within annual appropriations.
    • On the defense side, though, the bills fall short – by nearly $10 billion – of the spending level authorized by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
    • Overall, Senate Democrats’ bills would outspend even the Biden Administration’s wasteful request by nearly $50 billion.
  • Neglecting Border Security and Changing Immigration Policy: Illegal crossings are happening at record levels, but Senate Democrats’ bills fail to provide the resources necessary to secure our southwest border against illegal immigration and, instead, further the Biden Administration’s flawed open border policies.  In particular, their bills:
    • Direct funding to activities that facilitate illegal immigration under the guise of “border management” rather than stop it (Homeland);
    • Reduce ICE’s detention capacity by 26% and hobble its enforcement and removal capabilities, even as the number of illegal immigrants released into the country skyrockets (Homeland);
    • Prohibit ICE components from collaborating to surge resources to the border or otherwise conduct civil enforcement activities (Homeland);
    • Encourage the release of certain criminal aliens on the streets (Homeland);
    • For the second straight year, seek to repurpose funds previously appropriated for construction of a border wall for activities that will do nothing to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across our southern border (Homeland);
    • Transfer border wall construction funds to facilitate remediation and removal of existing border barriers on public lands (Homeland, Interior);
    • Direct tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to provide legal representation for migrants in removal proceedings (Homeland);
    • Rewrite immigration law to change the way visas are distributed, including to allow visas for persons from countries where vetting processes are substandard (Homeland); and
    • Allow the federal government to employ non-citizens participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program (FSGG, Leg Branch).
  • Financing Abortion at Home and Abroad: Not only do Senate Democrats’ bills remove the Hyde family of amendments, which have enjoyed broad, bipartisan support for decades, but they actually finance abortion with taxpayer dollars.  Specifically, the bills:
    • Remove the Hyde family of amendments, which prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions and have been in effect for decades (LHHS, FSGG);
    • Provide $350 million in taxpayer dollars to finance abortion, including for the costs of travel and lodging to obtain abortions, as well as equipment for and construction of abortion facilities (LHHS);
    • Require Title X grantees to provide abortion drugs, counseling on abortion, and referral for an abortion upon request, while providing a 78% increase in funding for this program (LHHS);
    • Eliminate funding for the Sexual Risk Avoidance education program (LHHS);
    • Limit enforcement of the existing federal ban on partial birth abortions (CJS);
    • Codify the repeal of the Mexico City Policy to allow foreign assistance to flow to organizations that promote or perform abortions (SFOPS);
    • Increase funding for Global Health Programs family planning (by $75 million) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (by $27.5 million) over the FY22 enacted level (SFOPS); and
    • Remove the penalty for UNFPA’s operation of its China program, which has been found to support and participate in the management of China’s coercive reproductive policies (SFOPS).
  • Compromising the Fight Against Terrorism: Senate Democrats’ bills double down on the Biden Administration’s decision to send enemy combatants back into the arms of the Taliban and other terrorist organizations and further compromise America’s fight against terrorism by:
    • Allowing the transfer or release of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or other terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) (CJS, Homeland & Defense); and
    • Allowing the closure of GTMO and the construction of facilities in the United States to house individuals currently detained at GTMO (CJS, Defense, MilConVA).
  • Pushing the Green New Deal: Senate Democrats’ bills seek to use the appropriations process to advance radical environmental and climate policies, specifically by:
    • Mandating harmful new burdens on oil and gas operations that will exacerbate our current energy security and supply crisis and further induce inflation (Interior);
    • Taking in excess of $2 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund to transform FEMA’s pre-disaster mitigation program into a climate change slush fund (Homeland);
    • Providing hundreds of millions of dollars for undefined “environmental justice” efforts and investments in the Civilian Climate Corps (Interior);
    • Changing the longstanding biomass provision to make it more difficult to create sustainable markets for forest management by-products (Interior);
    • Allowing regulation of methane emissions from livestock under the Clean Air Act and removing longstanding limitation on mandatory greenhouse gas reporting requirements for manure management systems (Interior);
    • Allowing unnecessary environmental regulation of ammunition and fishing tackle (Interior);
    • Providing $1.6 billion for the Green Climate Fund, a global climate slush fund that lacks sufficient oversight, transparency, or governance (SFOPS); and
    • Providing $500 million to subsidize the solar industry (EWD).
  • Partisan Labor Reforms: Senate Democrats’ bills will:
    • Increase funding for the National Labor Relations Board by $45.2 million – a 16.5% increase over the enacted level;
    • Remove the longstanding prohibition on National Labor Relations Board electronic voting, which will subject union elections to coercion and fraud (LHHS); and
    • Restrict the ability of future administrations to adopt civil service reforms (FSGG).
  • Political Poison Pills: The bills would implement partisan “reforms” that will weaponize government agencies against Democrats’ political opponents, including by:
    • Increasing the IRS budget by $1 billion and removing a longstanding prohibition on the IRS issuing rules to regulate political groups, which was adopted in the wake of the Tea Party targeting scandal (FSGG);
    • Removing the well-established provision prohibiting the Securities and Exchange Commission from issuing rules to regulate companies’ political activities (FSGG); and
    • Removing the prohibition on agencies requiring government contractors to disclose their political activities (FSGG).
  • And More: Senate Democrats’ bills include countless other provisions that seek to impose their radical agenda through the appropriations process:
    • Clears the way for marijuana legalization in Washington, D.C., and allows federal funds to be used to finance needle exchange programs in the nation’s capital without restriction (FSGG).