Important Policy Riders for the FY 2016 Appropriations Bills

The Constitution unequivocally grants Congress the exclusive power to appropriate funds for the “necessary and proper” operations of government. James Madison wrote in The Federalist No. 58 that providing budgetary powers to Congress was a critical element in maintaining individual rights. Congress’s power of the purse resides in its authority to make laws. However, the Constitution does not distinguish between laws that provide funding and those that authorize programs. This ambiguity has resulted in rules established by the House and Senate, and reinforced through budget laws, distinguishing between bills that appropriate funds and those that authorize programs. Congress should use policy riders to advance important policy objectives. A team of Heritage Foundation policy experts recommends legislative and limitations policy riders that should be included in the regular appropriations bills for the remainder of FY 2016.

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