I personally always call this a kittens-are-cute bill. The basic idea is that Party A wants to pass a certain bill, but they know it's wholly unacceptable to Party B. So what they do is add some (often only vaguely related) measure that will attract a lot of popular support from both parties' voters (as a joking example, "we hereby declare kittens to be cute"). Then they later point out that Party B voted against a bill that says kittens are cute (or that Party B abstained from voting, which to a lot of people is the same thing).

I see this strategy a lot, yet I don't remember ever seeing someone give a name to it. The word I'm looking for is not "omnibus bill", in that an omnibus bill can also be a true compromise where both parties get something they want. Not every omnibus bill is a kittens-are-cute bill, but of course every kittens-are-cute bill is, to some degree, an omnibus bill.

Note that whether or not Party A has a majority and as such gets the bill to pass is irrelevant. What's relevant is that all/most of Party B votes against, Party A knew this, and Party A decided to add a very popular measure to that same bill to later use as a rhetorical weapon.

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    @DarrelHoffman I'm specifically interested though in the scenario where they don't make the medicine go down, so to speak. The goal isn't to get the bill passed, but to later complain about party B hating kittens, as they voted against a bill titled "kittens are cute". The fact that the true reason for not supporting the bill is hidden in the dry legal details of the text is part of the plan. Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 20:40
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    Ah, okay, I was thinking in terms of William Walker's suggestion below of a "reverse poison pill", which still doesn't sound quite like what you're describing, but there may not be an exact term for it. Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 20:44
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    Perhaps this question is specific to certain countries?  In others, unrelated additions wouldn't be allowed.
    – gidds
    Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 21:15
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    The Q. might be improved by example or two, assuming examples can be found that won't attract irrelevant defenders.
    – agc
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 1:54
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    @agc I tried to add an example in a way that doesn't look like agenda pushing, but it seems almost impossible to do. Part of the problem is that politicians wouldn't admit to using this strategy as that would defeat the purpose, so most examples are arguably, but not obviously, examples of what I'm describing. So there would be plenty of arguing in the comments over whatever example I pick. Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


What you're describing is essentially a reverse poison pill.

The poison pill, or wrecking amendment, is an amendment whose purpose is to make the passage of a bill completely intolerable to the side that supports the bill, or to completely de-fang a bill by, for example, removing any enforcement power.

The term for an amendment that is unrelated to the bill at hand is 'rider', but I can't find any official terminology for this specific motive for such a rider. I would call it an 'entrapment rider,' since the purpose of the amendment is to create a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' condition for the opposition, rather than being proposed in good faith.

If it's an amendment offered in good faith to create a legitimate incentive for the opposition to support the bill, then it's a lesser form of pork.

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