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Democrats Demand That Biden, Leaders Reject Anti-LGBTQ+ Riders in Any Funding Bill

Senator Chuck Schumer President Joe Biden House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries
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Amid a looming government shutdown, over 160 lawmakers advocate for LGBTQ+ rights in 2024 appropriations discussions.


A group of 163 Democratic members of Congress, rallied by the Congressional Equality Caucus, has sent a letter to President Joe Biden and senior Democratic leaders, including U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Sen. Chuck Schumer, fervently urging the removal of any anti-LGBTQ+ provisions in the upcoming fiscal year 2024 funding agreement – a fight that looms as the country heads toward another government shutdown amid Republican chaos.

The letter is a passionate plea to uphold LGBTQ+ rights amidst ongoing funding discussions, according to a Congressional Equality Caucus press release.

It notes the critical process through which Congress funds programs and services that benefit the American people. However, it expresses dismay that some members of Congress are attempting to use this process against LGBTQ+ individuals, stating, “anti-equality members of Congress are attempting to hijack the appropriations process to restrict the rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBTQI+ people.”

The signatories strongly oppose the attempts by certain members, who, lacking the necessary votes and public support, strive to incorporate these provisions in essential funding legislation. They highlighted over 40 anti-equality provisions in the current House appropriations bills encompassing various riders that could impede LGBTQ+ rights and access to critical services.

Among the riders highlighted are the Gender-Affirming Care Ban Riders and License to Discriminate Riders, which would essentially create a license for entities to discriminate under the guise of religious liberty. Other riders cited include those barring the flying of pride flags at specific facilities and those obstructing the implementation of LGBTQ-inclusive Executive Orders.

Furthermore, the letter sheds light on additional anti-LGBTQ+ riders in several funding bills, including riders aimed at defunding certain offices advocating for LGBTQ+ human rights and those that could restrict federal funding to international organizations affirming the existence of transgender individuals.

In a recent development from September, the Caucus released statements condemning the passage of three appropriations bills due to discriminatory riders targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

A White House spokesperson directed The Advocate to previous policy positions the administration has issued, which make clear that the Biden administration opposes the riders.

Concerning the White House’s policy position on the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, the administration previously stated that President Joe Biden would veto the bill for a multitude of reasons, including that the ”bills also include numerous new, partisan policy provisions with devastating consequences including harming access to reproductive healthcare, threatening the health and safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans, endangering marriage equality, hindering critical climate change initiatives, and preventing the administration from promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

The White House reiterated that position in a policy statement regarding the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

Moreover, on Thursday, the administration issued a policy statement opposing S.J. Res. 42, brought by Republicans. Through utilizing the Congressional Review Act, the resolution attempted to disapprove the Agriculture Department’s memorandum about protecting LGBTQ+ Americans from discrimination in federally funded nutrition programs.

A statement of administration policy issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget noted that the administration did not support the resolution. The statement said, “No person in need of help should be turned away from a food bank or denied nutrition assistance just because of who they are or who they love.”

“Like many Americans, LGBTQI+ households often turn to federal nutrition programs like SNAP when they experience food insecurity,” the White House continued. “In fact, federal research shows that households with an LGBTQI+ member are more likely to report food insecurity compared to non-LGBTQI+ households. This legislation would mean that needy people — including children who may go hungry — could be denied food and food assistance simply because of who they are or who they love. That is discrimination, and it is wrong. If Congress were to pass this joint resolution, the president would veto it.”

The Senate rejected the measure Friday by a vote of 50 to 47.

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