Environmental Groups Oppose FY24 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill and Amendments November 14, 2023
The League of Conservation Voters led 15 environmental organizations in sending the below letter to the House of Representatives urging Members to oppose H.R. 5894, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024, and the below anti-environmental amendments, when they come up for votes. The League of Conservation Voters will strongly consider including votes related to these amendments in our 2023 National Environmental Scorecard.
November 14, 2023
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Vote NO on H.R. 5894, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024, and Harmful Amendments
Dear Member of Congress,
On behalf of our many members and supporters, the 15 undersigned groups urge you to oppose H.R. 5894, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2024.
The bill eliminates funding for Clean Energy Apprenticeships at the Department of Labor, which provide pathways to the types of good-paying jobs in the clean energy economy that are critically needed to fully achieve the climate pollution reductions from the Inflation Reduction Act. Apprenticeships like these help ensure a diverse clean energy workforce through the recruitment and training of those who historically have been underrepresented in the energy field, including women and people of color. It also nixes funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Climate and Health Program, an initiative that represents the only direct Federal support for climate and health adaptation at state, local, tribal, and territorial public health agencies. Cutting this program would leave vulnerable members of our communities even more at risk of heat stroke, asthma attacks, and death, as the effects of climate change worsen.
Moreover, the bill repeals the Department of Labor’s rule protecting people’s retirement savings from all types of financial risks, including those due to climate change, and returns to the Trump administration rule-change that disregards the financial risks of dirty energy investments – a standard that has resulted in significant financial loss for pension funds in states that have implemented it to date. Finally, and devastatingly, the underlying bill and many of its proposed amendments include attacks on our rights and freedoms, reproductive health care, diversity, equity, and inclusion, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrant communities, and workers of all types, among others. These and other poison pill riders go against our values and have no place in the appropriations process.
For these reasons and the reasons listed above, we urge you to oppose H.R. 5894 and the following anti-environmental amendments when they come up for votes. While not all undersigned organizations work directly on each of these issues, we appreciate your consideration of these pro-environmental positions.
Thank you for your consideration,
League of Conservation Voters
Center for Biological Diversity
Clean Energy for America
Clean Water Action
Climate Action Campaign
Endangered Species Coalition
Natural Resources Defense Council
Partnership for Policy Integrity
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Union of Concerned Scientists
Voices for Progress
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
- Cammack (FL) and 100. Graves (LA). These amendments would prevent any major rules from being promulgated, regardless of their benefits or whether they are required by existing law. This could prevent life-saving protections for Americans.
- Crenshaw (TX). The latest National Climate Assessment, which was just released, is clear that climate change is exacerbating long-standing social inequities and harming the health of low income households, communities of color, and other marginalized people first and worst. Most HHS divisions have limited climate expertise and do not presently have staff dedicated to climate action and climate health. That makes the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity essential to support the agency’s mission of enhancing human health and well being–and defunding it contrary to those goals.
- Crenshaw (TX). The Civilian Climate Corps combines national service with workforce training to rally a new generation around the need to confront the climate crisis; it will build a versatile corps of workers with the skills to help conserve and restore waters and lands, make our communities more resilient, speed the shift to clean energy and advance environmental justice. This amendment would deny any and all funding in the bill for the Corps.
- Hageman (WY). Climate literacy is a necessary part of the transition to a clean energy economy, and rightfully should be a part of any DOL worker transition plans. Workers need to be aware of the impacts a changing climate has on their health, and their employment should they work in an impacted industry, which could be anything from the power sector to construction, and beyond.
- Hageman (WY). DOL’s 2022 climate adaptation plan describes just two “environmental justice” grant programs: (1) YouthBuild, which serves disadvantaged youth, and was authorized in the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014; and (2) the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities initiative, which since 2019 has prepared more 18,000 workers for placement in new or enhanced jobs throughout Appalachia. This amendment essentially proposes to defund two long-running workforce development programs during a period of high inflation and economic uncertainty.
- Roy (TX). This amendment would prohibit funding to implement executive orders that help reduce harmful pollution, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, jumpstart clean energy innovation and deployment, and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. The damaging effects of this amendment would include hobbling our government’s ability to prepare for and respond to the very real threat of climate change.
- Tenney (NY). President Biden’s Executive Order on Access to Voting is a critical effort to increase nonpartisan voter registration and participation when people interact with government agencies. This amendment would thwart common-sense, good-government innovations to better serve voters of all stripes, frustrating the goals of the decades-old, bipartisan National Voter Registration Act.
Equity Amendments: The following poison pill riders go against our values and have no place in the appropriations process – we urge opposition on any en bloc that includes these or similar amendments:
- 87. Brecheen (OK)
- 98. Gooden (TX)
- 107. Hageman (WY)
- 108. Hageman (WY)
- 128. Ogles (TN)
- 135. Rosendale (MT)
Salary Amendments: Any amendments to arbitrarily and punitively cut salaries for federal government officials to $1 are personal attacks on individuals whose job it is to carry out the President’s policies or the mandate of their independent agency and are wholly inappropriate and unwarranted. Top officials directing important federal government business should be fairly paid for their work, and any attacks on government officials’ pay should be rejected.
- 2. Higgins (LA)
- 86. Biggs (AZ)
- 91. Collins (GA)
- 103. Greene (GA)
- 104. Greene (GA)
- 112. Higgins (LA)
- 113. Higgins (LA)
- 117. McCormick (GA)
- 118. Miller (IL)
- 119. Miller (IL)