Wild Horse Education

Are You Confused by the Budget Debate? (it’s not over)

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Every single year we see a growing confusion as the debate over the budget bill, called “Appropriations,” moves through before being signed and becoming law.

The Appropriations bill must follow the same process as every other bill. However, the budget process is a mandatory process to fund government agencies through the fiscal year. The fiscal year for the US government is October through September. What you are seeing now is the for the 2021 fiscal year that begins October 1.

Bills like the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act usually die in committee in each year and need to be reintroduced and begin the process again (banning transport of all horses to slaughter).

Unlike legislation like the SAFE ACT, Appropriations (budget bill) must be passed or agencies shutdown. In the last few years federal agencies have stayed open by Congress passing a Continuing Resolution (a temporary bill) until a final budget can be passed, extending the debate for months.

Perhaps this is where some of the confusion lies?

If you can keep in mind the old “Schoolhouse Rock” video, and remember the budget is mandatory, it might help?

Last year we wrote a fast guide to Appropriations that you might find helpful HERE. 

Where do we stand today in the fiscal 2021 Appropriations process? 

The bill has come out of sub-committee and committee; it has not gone to a full floor vote in the House. Then, as in the video above, the process begins again in the Senate. If both bills match? it goes to be signed by the President into law. If they do not match, it goes into a consolidation committee and need to be voted on again.

Messaging on social media is making active action to change this bill difficult; many think the process is over. It is far from over.

The “wild horse” portions of the bill have not changed since it was introduced in sub-committee (HERE), but other areas of the bill did have amendments proposed in committee and there was change.

Under this draft the BLM  will be awarded $102,620,000 for the wild horse and burro program. This is simply $42 million over 2019 levels to accelerate the status quo. Removal numbers in 2021 are likely to hit the highest levels since the 1971 Act was passed.

There are no protections against sterilization experimentation and no mandate for actual management planning prior to rounding up or doing fertility control.

The prohibition against open sales to slaughter and killing healthy wild horses stands, as of today. 

However, this is far from over. 

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Remember the Burns Amendment?

If you want to really understand how long this debate will rage on, and where things can get bad fast (or improve), try to remember what Conrad Burns (R-MT) did.

The Burns Rider was attached to a spending bill at the very last minute in the Senate (after going through House). The massive omnibus budget of 2004 was passed without many even being aware that Burns had attached the Rider!

What Burns did changed the entire wild horse an burro program forever and we all work very hard to prohibit funding the worst part of his rider every year; open sales to slaughter.(more HERE)

On the shenanigans side there are moves to clarify regulations (open sales to slaughter and killing wild horses) in another part of process, the White House Unified Agenda. If these moves go through before the end of the Senate vote? You can bet someone will slip in a rider. We must remain vigilant.

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Take action

We are asking you to call your House representative.

Congress is inundated with form letters from organizations on hundreds of issues during the budget debate. It is an election year and we are dealing with a national health crisis, a call is best. We do have a fast letter you can send by clicking the text below.

We now have a fast “click and send” you can shoot off to your legislators: Click HERE.

You can find your rep in the House here http://govtrack.us

Updated script after committee hearing, 7/9. The bill still must fast a full vote on the floor of the House. Any Representative can still propose and amendment.

Sample script: 

I am calling about the (pending) full floor vote on  “Appropriations 2021, Interior spending. I am calling about the 2021 funding of the Wild Horse and Burro program. 

Please propose an amendment to the (spending) bill to prohibit funding to be used for sterilization and mandate BLM to create actual management planning for our herds as outlined in the handbook mandated by law: No funding should be spent on Herd Management Areas where BLM has no Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP).

This action requires you to find your rep in the House and pick up a phone. With the current health crisis? we suggest finding a phone number for their local office. Call and log your request.

Ask for the email to send follow up information and begin to establish a relationship with your local office.

This is an election year. Make your voice count.

We will have a distinct action item as this bill heads into the Senate.

More soon from the field. We are out checking waters in 4 HMAs today. The pictures in this article are of wild horses in Shewave.

Shewave is on the roundup schedule. Over 1800 will be captured by helicopter in Shewave in August.

The last leg of the 2020 budget is ushering in the largest year of roundups in US history if this 2021 bill is fully funded with no mandate for management planning.

If you want to throw a “stop” to the status quo? help us get Congress to prohibit funding of removals where BLM has no actual management plan (the HMAP). We have 177 HMAs in the US and only 7 HMAPs (management plans).

Please take the action in this article. 


If you are shopping online you can help Wild Horse Education by choosing us as your charity of choice on IGive or Amazonsmile.com 


roundups: https://wildhorseeducation.org/?s=5000

More on the HMAP: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2020/05/20/blm-plan-and-the-hmap/

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Categories: Wild Horse Education