By Brandon Moseley

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) voiced his displeasure with how Senate Democrats are posting their Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) appropriations bills.

“Chairman Leahy’s decision to unilaterally unveil partisan spending bills is a significant step in the wrong direction,” Shelby said in a statement. “This one-sided process has resulted in bills that spend in excess of the Democrats’ own budget resolution and fail to give equal consideration to our nation’s defense. Their bills are filled with poison pills and problematic authorizing provisions, and they remove important legacy riders on topics like terrorism, abortion, and immigration that for years have enjoyed broad support on both sides of the aisle.

“A successful appropriations process rests on trust and bipartisan cooperation like we had in recent years under the Shelby/Leahy framework. Regrettably, we’re a long way from that now. If Democrats want full-year appropriations bills, they must abandon their go-it-alone strategy and come to the table to negotiate. We need a topline agreement that does not shortchange our nation’s defense and a willingness to set aside partisan politics. Only then will we be able to produce full-year bills for the American people.  Otherwise, we will oppose these partisan drafts. The clock is ticking.”

Shelby’s office pointed to a number of areas where the Senate Democrats’ bills include a number of issues troubling for Republicans, including:

-          Misplaced Spending Priorities: The bills continue the Democrats’ trend of reckless domestic spending while shortchanging investments in our national defense.

-          Senate Democrats’ bills provide an increase in non-defense spending of nearly 14% over the last fiscal year, while providing a 5% increase for spending on our national defense. In total, their bills exceed the spending levels in their own partisan budget resolution by nearly $10 billion.

-       -  Neglecting Border Security and Changing Immigration Policy.

-        -  Cut funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s core border security activities;

-       -   Return to the Treasury nearly $2 billion in funding that was appropriated on a bipartisan basis to construct a border wall to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the southern border;

-        -  Allow Border Patrol funding to be transferred to remove border wall on public lands;

-        - Reduce ICE’s detention capacity and hobble its enforcement and removal capabilities for those who are in the country unlawfully;

-        -  Implement policies that will allow certain criminal aliens to be turned free in the United States;

-       -   Rewrite immigration law to change the way visas are distributed, including to allow visas for persons from countries where vetting processes are substandard; and

-        - Allow the federal government to employ non-citizens participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

Shelby said that the Democrats’ spending bill also promotes and finances abortions at home and abroad and change or remove longstanding policies protecting life, which have enjoyed broad, bipartisan support for decades, including:

-       -   Removing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions and has been in effect for nearly 50 years;

-       -   Removing the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from going to states that discriminate against health care entities that do not provide, pay for, or refer for abortions;

-       -  Removing the “D.C. Hyde” (or Dornan) Amendment, which prohibits District of Columbia from using federal or local funds to pay for abortions and has been in effect since FY12;

-          Requiring Title X grantees to provide abortion drugs, counseling on abortion, and referral for an abortion upon request, while providing a 75% increase in funding for these programs;

-        -   Eliminating funding for the Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program;

-        -  Codifying the repeal of the Mexico City Policy to allow foreign assistance to flow to organizations that promote or perform abortions;

-        -  Narrowing the scope of the Kemp-Kasten Amendment to allow foreign assistance to go to organizations that indirectly support coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization;

-       -   Increasing funding for Global Health Programs family planning (by $130 million) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (by $22.5 million) over the FY21 enacted level;

-        -  Removing 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;

-      -   And expands availability of foreign assistance funds for contraceptives, including through the HIV/AIDS Working Capital Fund.

Shelby accused the Democrats of compromising the fight against terrorism by:

-          Allowing the transfer or release of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or other terrorists detained at GITMO (Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp); and allowing the closure of GITMO and the construction of facilities in the United States to house individuals currently detained at GITMO.

Shelby also accused Democrats of pushing the Green New Deal. Shelby claimed that Senate Democrats’ bills seek to use the appropriations process to advance radical environmental and climate policies, specifically:

-       -  Taking $1 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund to transform FEMA’s pre-disaster mitigation program into a climate change slush fund;

-        -  Providing hundreds of millions of dollars for undefined “environmental justice” efforts and investments in the Civilian Climate Corps;

-       -   Changing the longstanding biomass provision to make it more difficult to create sustainable markets for forest management by-products;

-        - Allowing regulation of methane emissions from livestock under the Clean Air Act and removing the longstanding limitation on mandatory greenhouse gas reporting requirements for manure management systems;

-       -   Allowing unnecessary environmental regulation of ammunition and fishing tackle;

-       -   Providing billions for the Clean Technology and Green Climate Funds, global climate slush funds that lack sufficient oversight, transparency, or governance; and

-       -  Spending hundreds of millions of dollars for the federal government to purchase electric vehicles.

Shelby charged that Democrats’ “Partisan” labor reforms will also remove the longstanding prohibition on National Labor Relations Board electronic voting, which will subject union elections to coercion and fraud and apply Davis-Bacon requirements to new grant programs.

Shelby claimed that the bills contain “political poison pills and that Democrats’ bills seek to implement partisan “reforms” that will weaponize government agencies against Democrats’ political opponents by:

-      -    Increasing the IRS budget by 14% and remove a longstanding prohibition on the IRS issuing rules to regulate political groups, which was adopted in the wake of the Tea Party targeting scandal;

-        -  Removing the well-established provision prohibiting the Securities and Exchange Commission from issuing rules to regulate companies’ political activities; and

-       -   Removing the prohibition on agencies requiring government contractors to disclose their political activities.

Shelby is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. He was the Chairman until Democrats gained control of the Senate ten months ago. Shelby will retire from the Senate after 36 years of Senate service when his current term expires at the end of next year.