WASHINGTON: Farm-state lawmakers are trying to thwart new clean water rules.
Banks are looking to ease oversight requirements.
Brokers are working to stall a new rule raising standards for investment advice on retirement accounts.
Truckers want longer tandem trucks permitted in every state.
These are just some of the policy battles that must be hashed out by Dec. 11 as Congress races to close out a $1.1 trillion spending bill and avoid a holiday season government shutdown.
President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies promise to fight off what they consider the most glaring examples of GOP overreach. Republicans insist they won’t walk away empty-handed.
At issue are dozens of policy provisions that have hitched a ride onto the 12 spending bills. When a bill has trouble advancing on its own, lawmakers often try to add it to must-do appropriations legislation.
For powerful interest groups such as banks, broadcasters and agribusiness, these riders are often the last, best chance to push items on their agenda through Congress. They also are a way for lawmakers to weigh in on pet issues such as gun rights, management of wolf populations and rest requirements for long-haul truckers.
Republicans have laced the spending bills with add-ons that take on Obama’s health law, new environmental regulations, and the 2010 Dodd-Frank law tightening oversight of the financial services industry. If history is any guide, Obama and Democrats — whose votes will be needed to pass the catch-all spending bill — will ward off most of them.
But lots of lower-tier issues are in play.
Anti-Castro forces in the House appear unlikely to reverse Obama’s moves to loosen rules about traveling to Cuba. But supporters of medical marijuana are hopeful they can win new guarantees against harassment by federal authorities.
Broadcasters have bipartisan support for letting them retain advertising sales agreements with other stations in the same market despite a new federal rule that curbs the practice. The Federal Communications Commission says big media companies are exploiting the agreements in order to evade restrictions against owning multiple stations in the same market.
Some conservatives are still pressing to use the spending legislation as a way to take away Planned Parenthood’s federal money and increase scrutiny of Syrian and Iraqi refugees seeking to settle in the U.S. Those are nonstarters with Obama and Democrats.
But as House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said at a recent forum, “There will have to be some riders in this for us to be able to pass” the massive bill.