Wild Horse Education

Budget Debate (Annual Cycle of Politics)

As cold and blustery weather begins to move into much of the West, the hot air of politics is right on schedule.

Over the years many of you rely on us to write these articles as politicians use the budget debate as a platform. We are not politicians. We are not lobbyists, 

You can easily see the current bills coming out of the House have a political agenda that is primarily anti-environment. Among other things, the legislation would provide $6.17 billion to the EPA in fiscal year 2024, a $3.96 billion reduction from the prior-year enacted level and the lowest amount since fiscal year 1991. Nothing in this bill is a “win” for the environment or for wild horses and burros.

The prohibition against open sales to slaughter and mass killing of healthy wild horses has been maintained. This is good news. However, open sales to slaughter have been banned since the first year they were allowed, 2005, and new loopholes are repeatedly uncovered each year. So this is not an unexpected victory; Congress is not ready to say they approve open sales to slaughter and killing healthy wild horses. The rest of the bill brings no substantive changes since this (increase in spending) began in 2019.

There is no language in the current version of the House bill that translates into any actual change on the ground, creates any useful language for a courtroom, etc. A few meaningless nods that add non binding language to “look at alternatives to helicopters” is basically just words that have no enforceability or imply any change in how BLM is “expanding fertility control.” (See Surprise Release)

Fertility control vaccine application has been a funding priority for the House for years and is noted as a main component in the Path Forward agreement adopted in 2018 by the agency. So are expanding “grants” to include “partners” that may be adversarial without them (they all include some type of “gag” provision and can be cancelled at will). Another priority carried over with designated funding is expanding capacity in holding to continue expanding removals to get to the same politically based numbers on the range (most of these facilities are created without any regular public visiting hours).

The language in the bill has no mandatory funding for actual reform. The bill has funding that fulfills the status quo and meaningless and non binding language to make it seem more palatable.

What we have heard is that the Senate will create their own version of a budget and not vote on the House versions as politics ranges on in DC.

We expect that whatever version passes the House and Senate will not match, go into a debate and we will see headlines again noting the possibility of a government shutdown once more as the November 17 deadline approaches. We do not expect any changes in the wild horse and burro program as that debate was essentially “sealed” in 2018 under the lobby agreement (Path Forward).

The debate for the 2025 budget will go into full swing in January.

We hope this helps those of you asking for our take on the current House budget.

4-Step Budget Action from WHE so you can see some of the mandatory language we are seeking for reform.

Creating a relationship with your lawmakers is important. They need to be reminded that the public wants more for our wild ones than big paid corporate lobbyists want for their clients.

Without your help, none of this work is possible. Our teams are in the field and deep in the fight to protect and preserve our wild ones. 

We have a matching donor that will cover the initial costs, but we will need your help to carry the costs of the case as it moves through the courts. All contributions up to $10,000. will be matched dollar-for-dollar from now through November. 

There are many ways to support the work of WHE from direct contribution, stock donations and even while you shop. More HERE.

Categories: Wild Horse Education