Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has joined Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) in opposing bylaws backed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who is likely to become the next Speaker.
The two Democratic lawmakers have objected to the inclusion of a “pay-as-you-go” rule, which would mandate that any new legislation be deficit-neutral, meaning any costs would need to be offset by new revenues or cuts elsewhere.
Proponents of pay-as-you-go say itis an important safeguard to keep the federal deficit in check, however Khanna and Ocasio-Cortez, an Economics major, disagree.
“It is terrible economics. The austerians were wrong about the Great Recession and Great Depression. At some point, politicians need to learn from mistakes and read economic history,” tweeted Khanna on Wednesday.
I will be voting NO on the Rules package with #PayGo. It is terrible economics. The austerians were wrong about the Great Recession and Great Depression. At some point, politicians need to learn from mistakes and read economic history. @paulkrugman @StephanieKelton @RBReich https://t.co/avimV0SU4t
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) January 2, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez called it a “dark political maneuver designed to hamstring progress on healthcare+other leg.”
Tomorrow I will also vote No on the rules package, which is trying to slip in #PAYGO.
PAYGO isn’t only bad economics, as @RoKhanna explains; it’s also a dark political maneuver designed to hamstring progress on healthcare+other leg.
We shouldn’t hinder ourselves from the start. https://t.co/WW3UaBs7vh
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 2, 2019
A spokesman for Pelosi, Drew Hammill, fired back – arguing that pay-go would be a vast improvement over current GOP rules, which he referred to as “CUTGO,” which prohibit tax increases from being used to pay for legislation.
Without a pay-go rule in the House, he said, the White House budget office would be required by law to offset deficits from new legislation by cutting certain mandatory spending, such as Medicare.
“We must replace CUTGO to allow Democrats to designate appropriate offsets (including revenue increases). A vote AGAINST the Democratic Rules package is a vote to let Mick Mulvaney make across the board cuts, unilaterally reversing Democratic initiatives and funding increases,” he wrote, referencing the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The PAYGO rule would not block deficit-producing legislation from going forward, but it would create a legislative roadblock. –The Hill
In order to sink the new rules package, 18 Democrats would need to vote against it on January 3 – which would constitute a significant setback for Pelosi during her first day back at the Speaker’s gavel.
That said, some budget experts say that concerns over the pay-go rule are overblown.
“In a prior life, I spent plenty of time trying to make a House PAYGO rule have teeth and consequences,” said former senior policy analyst Zach Moller in response to Khanna. “This PAYGO rule, as proposed, is not that. Progressives should not lose a minute of sleep over it.”
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