LetterVerified Voting Letter

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Nov. 15, 2023

Dear Members of Congress,

Re: Vote NO on Anti-Democracy Riders on H.R. 5893 – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024

We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to remove the anti-democratic poison pill policy riders from the Fiscal Year 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill due for consideration in the House of Representatives this week.

The existing and proposed radical riders would deeply damage our already fragile democracy by restricting access to voting, disarming our defenses against foreign influence over U.S. elections, and severely compromising law enforcement anti-corruption investigations.

Among the poison pill riders already written into the CJS appropriations bill and the anti-democratic amendments proposed by House Republicans are those that would:

  • Block the Department of Justice from acting to protect voting rights when state legislatures or local governments adopt discriminatory redistricting maps (Sec. 582);
  • Defund the President’s Executive Order Promoting Access to Voting (Proposed amendment by Rep. Tenney);
  • Defund FBI investigations into malign foreign influence operations targeting the United States, including cyber attacks against voting infrastructure, criminal efforts to suppress voting, and illegal campaign contributions (Proposed amendment by Rep. Biggs);
  • Compromise the integrity of anti-corruption law enforcement investigations by forcing the Department of Justice and the FBI to expose the identities of confidential informants to Members of Congress who ask for them (Proposed amendment by Rep. Fry); and
  • Slash to $1 or eliminate entirely the salaries of a dozen high-ranking federal law enforcement officials – including United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, three United States Attorneys, and Special Counsel Jack Smith (Proposed amendments by Reps. Greene, Rep. Biggs, Rep. Rosendale, Rep. Norman, Rep. Collins, Rep. Cloud, Rep. Burlison, Rep. Ogles, Rep. Luna, Rep. Crane).

The public does not support the inclusion of damaging policy riders in must-pass appropriations bills, and any previously included measures doing so must be removed.  Earlier this year, 100 public interest groups sent a letter to Congress calling for clean spending bills without any poison pill policy riders and for ample funding for vital programs and agencies to advance the public interest.  It is disappointing to see House Republicans blatantly ignore the will of the people.

We urge you to vote to remove all of the anti-democratic policy riders from the CJS appropriations bill and take action to strengthen – not weaken – a democracy for all the people.


Action Together NEPA
American Federation of Teachers
Arab American Institute Foundation
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote)
Brennan Center for Justice
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
Clean Elections Texas
DemCast USA
End Citizens United//Let America Vote Action Fund
Endangered Species Coalition
Fair Elections Center
Indivisible Santa Fe
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
League of Conservation Voters
Missionary Oblates
National Action Network
National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC)
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
People Power United
Public Citizen
Revolving Door Project
Secure Elections Network
Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment
Shareholder Proposals
Sierra Club
Take On Wall Street
The Workers Circle
Union of Concerned Scientists
Verified Voting
Voices for Progress
Voto Latino
Western Watersheds Project
WV Citizen Action