Politics

Pelosi Urges Democrats to Oppose Farm Bill, Balanced Budget Amendment, Rescissions

Minority leader pens Dear Colleague letter on 'what challenges lie ahead'

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is urging her colleagues to oppose the farm bill and a balanced budget amendment measure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi welcomed her Democratic colleagues back from a two-week spring recess with a “Dear Colleague” letter urging them to oppose several upcoming pieces of legislation. 

Included in Pelosi’s list was the farm bill reauthorizing agriculture programs, which is typically a bipartisan measure. But Republicans this year have been pushing to add work requirements to food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. 

Republicans are expected to unveil their “disastrous” farm bill this week, Pelosi said, saying Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee all oppose the GOP’s proposal for SNAP “and have said they won’t support a bill that includes these cruel provisions.”

Pelosi also urged her colleagues to vote against a balanced budget amendment (BBA) that Republicans are bringing to the floor Thursday. The measure is a constitutional amendment that would bar Congress from spending more than it takes in each year. A two-thirds threshold is required on any measure to amendment the Constitution, meaning Democrats will block the BBA if they remain united against it.

“Their real goal is to end Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as we know it,” Pelosi said.  “We cannot let this happen.  In fact, their hypocrisy is so vast, Speaker [Paul D.] Ryan voted against the BBA in 2011 because he said it would lead to higher taxes, but he is bringing the BBA to a vote this week.”

Another issue Pelosi is seeking to align her caucus against is an idea President Donald Trump and GOP leaders have been discussing to deploy a provision in the 1974 budget law that sets up an expedited process for Congress to review a rescission resolution from the president identifying appropriations that the administration does not want to spend. Republicans are eyeing the process as a way to cut domestic spending in the recently passed omnibus.

Pelosi also asked Democrats to continue their efforts to hold the Trump administration accountable “for a culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence.”

She emphasized her position that embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt must resign, but said he is just the latest example of “staggering ethical blindness” pervasive in the Trump administration. 

“These are some of the many challenges we face,” Pelosi said. “We are, of course, united around the need to defend our children from the threat of gun violence in the wake of the tragic Parkland shooting.”

Notably, Pelosi’s letter did not mention Democratic efforts to push for legislation protecting so-called Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Federal court rulings have prevented the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program that shelters roughly 700,000 Dreamers from deportation, taking away the urgency for Congress to act. 

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