September 13, 2018

Udall Outlines Priorities at Interior Bill Conference Committee Meeting

Udall: Poison pill riders ‘don’t belong in appropriations bills—and they are standing in the way of us enacting these bills by October 1st'

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, participated in the conference committee meeting to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House’s fiscal year 2019 Interior & Environment Appropriations bills.

“As I begin, I want to note what a remarkable achievement it is to convene a conference on the Interior Appropriations bill—for the first time in nearly a decade,” Udall said during the meeting.

“We are so close to reaching final agreement. But what stands in our way is a number of remaining items—poison pill riders—that are still unresolved,” Udall continued. “I know that there are real differences of opinion— one member’s ‘poison pill’ is another member’s antidote. But these provisions don’t belong in appropriations bills—and they are standing in the way of us enacting these bills by October 1st. We need to pass a clean Interior bill and put these funds to work in communities back home. I know we can get there. So let’s get to work.”

The full text of Udall’s remarks during today’s conference committee meeting are below.

As I begin, I want to note what a remarkable achievement it is to convene a conference on the Interior Appropriations bill—for the first time in nearly a decade.

Much of the credit is due to the leadership of Chairman Shelby and Vice Chairman Leahy, who were determined to work on a bipartisan basis to restore regular order and reject poison pill riders. I salute them. They’ve given us a successful formula to get these bills signed into law.

I would like to thank my Chairman, Senator Murkowski, who has been a tremendous partner through this entire process. Even though we don’t always agree, I’m proud we’re able to work together to find common ground.

Finally, I want to thank my House colleagues, Chairman Ken Calvert and Ranking Member Betty McCollum, for working closely with us to produce the framework for a very good bill.

The package before us takes care of the programs our constituents back home care about, including national parks, public lands, water infrastructure, and environmental protection.

This bill includes important increases for the Indian Health Service and arts and cultural programs, including the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.

And I’m proud that it maintains funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund—an important message as we work to pass a long-term reauthorization for the program.

We are so close to reaching a final agreement. But what stands in our way is a number of remaining items—poison pill riders—that are still unresolved.

I know that there are real differences of opinion— one Member’s “poison pill” is another Member’s antidote.

But these provisions don’t belong in appropriations bills—and they are standing in the way of us enacting these bills by October 1st.

We need to pass a clean Interior bill and put these funds to work in communities back home. I know we can get there. So let’s get to work.