Progressive opponents of the House Democratic rules package said they will vote against guidelines that include a “PAYGO” or “pay as you go” provision. New York Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and California Rep. Ro Khanna openly spoke out about their intent to reject the provision, which “requires that new spending be offset by matching cuts or increases in revenue,” CNN reported.
While the new rules package is popular within the House, progressive opponents said they need 18 votes from the Democratic conference to reject the rules package.
“I do not understand why the Democrats don’t have the courage of our convictions and make the case that our policies will lead to growth,” Khanna said. “PAYGO is to protect members in vulnerable districts who can say that Democrats are for fiscal responsibility. I’m all for raising taxes on the 1 percent and multinational corporations and stopping our excessive spending on the bad wars. But we should make an economic growth argument in swing districts instead of thinking the ’90s playbook of fiscal responsibility will work.”
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
PAYGO is a provision created in response to CUTGO, a rule outgoing House Republicans voted in that requires “new spending be paid for with cuts to spending,” CNN reported.
Drew Hammill, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, said the House must “replace CUTGO to allow Democrats to designate appropriate offsets (including revenue increases).”
But House Progressive fear that PAYGO will create an obstacle in supporting programs such as Medicare For All and other progressive policies, which will increase government expenditures.
Congressional Progressive Caucus officials said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon:
“We all agree that the real problem with PAYGO exists in the statute that requires it. That is why we will be introducing legislation in the 116th Congress to end PAYGO. In the meantime, Chairman McGovern and House Leadership have committed to us that PAYGO will not be an impediment to advancing key progressive priorities in the 116th Congress. With the assurances that PAYGO can be waived, we do plan to vote for the House rules package and proceed with legislation to fix the statute.”
Not only have progressives spoke openly about their rejection of the rule, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan is also against PAYGO saying in a statement that it would “handcuff” House majority and is a “no go for me.”
Progressive House members’ opposition to PAYGO was also backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who called the concept “harder for Congress to address the many crises facing our working families.”
While Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for the 116th Congress, plan to vote yes on the rules package, they have plans to introduce legislation that would end the statue requiring PAYGO.