Scroll To Top

Equality Democrats Blast Republicans' Bigoted Amendments in Funding Bills

Equality Democrats Blast Republicans' Bigoted Amendments in Funding Bills

Mark Pocan

As a government shutdown looms, the Equality Caucus decries anti-LGBTQ+ bill riders.


The Congressional Equality Caucus, which is made up for queer and allied lawmakers, released a series of statements on Thursday night, reacting to the House passage of various appropriations bills, expressing strong condemnation for what members see as discriminatory riders targeting the LGBTQ+ community. If a spending bill to keep the government funded isn't passed by Sunday, the government will shut down.

Riders are provisions added to a proposed bill, and they may or may not have anything to do with the subject of that bill.

The Caucus condemned the passage of three appropriations bills: H.R. 4665 (State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act), H.R. 4365 (Department of Defense Appropriations Act), and H.R. 4367 (Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill). On the other hand, the Caucus commended the House for defeating H.R. 4368, the Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which was also viewed as another discriminatory attack on LGBTQ+ individuals.

“At a time when many countries are considering and passing laws to further criminalize the LGBTQI+ community, extreme MAGA Republicans in the House are using the appropriations process to restrict the United States’ ability to defend the human rights of LGBTQI+ people around the world,” Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, chair of the Equality Caucus, said regarding the state, foreign operations, and related programs bill.

Related: Republicans Again Try to Use Gov’t Funding Bills to Target LGBTQ+ People

Similar concerns were echoed in the statements on the Defense Appropriations bill and the Homeland Security Appropriations bill, where Pocan highlighted the riders prohibiting medical-necessary care for transgender servicemembers and the discriminatory license created against LGBTQ+ people under the guise of religious liberty, respectively.

The Caucus reserved a positive comment for the rejection of the agriculture bill.

Pocan expressed relief, noting, “This bill was another attack on LGBTQI+ people and their families, and I am glad it was defeated. It’s time to refocus our priorities on the needs of our country and stop targeting LGBTQI+ people for political points.”

Related: How a Federal Government Shutdown Will and Won't Affect You

The concerns raised by the Equality Caucus underscore a more significant ongoing political battle surrounding LGBTQ+ rights and representation within the federal legislative process amidst a tense budgetary debate. This Sunday’s looming government shutdown adds a layer of urgency and complexity to the congressional discussions around these appropriations bills.

The riders in the condemned bills seek to restrict funding for gender-affirming care, prohibit Pride flags from flying at covered facilities, and create licenses for discrimination under the veil of religious liberty, among other discriminatory actions.

“It’s time to refocus our priorities on the needs of our country and stop targeting LGBTQI+ people for political points,” Pocan said.

Lead image above shows Rep. Mark Pocan.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreAdvocate Magazine - Gio Benitez

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Christopher Wiggins