Presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Party leadership are calling for a vote on a House rules package that will include a pay-as-you-go provision, PayGo, requiring new spending to be offset either by budget cuts or tax increases.
The inclusion of this common sense rule has prompted the more radical wing of the party to express outrage, as well as an accidental admission that their far-left programs cannot be paid for.
The issue becomes the first battle between party leadership and the socialist wing of the party, as Representatives Ro Khanna of California and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York have vowed to oppose Pelosi by voting ‘no.’
“It is terrible economics,” Khanna explained on social media, while Ocasio-Cortez denounced PayGo as “a dark political maneuver designed to hamstring progress.”
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
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
Radical Leftists are outraged by limits to deficit spending
Ocasio-Cortez and other radicals in the party are outraged at implementing fiscally responsible rules because their pipe dreams of handing out free things to everyone would be placed in peril. Medicare for All, universal childcare, free college, and a so-called Green New Deal would be hamstrung if they have to be actually be paid for.
Ocasio-Cortez has long struggled to explain how she could possibly pay for a program like Medicare for All, even to the dismay of some journalists at CNN. How she’ll now figure out where the money will come from if these new rules are implemented is anybody’s guess. Perhaps she could contact the Pentagon?
Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton and part of then-President-elect Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board, denounced Pelosi’s addition of PayGo as “a brainless Republican idea.”
Message to House Dems: Do NOT vote for “PayGo” in the rules package. It’s a brainless Republican idea that tax cuts or mandatory spending increases must be offset by tax increases or mandatory spending cuts. Totally disables fiscal policy. https://t.co/t9PXK0c9wm
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) January 2, 2019
Reich should have checked with his former boss on that one, as Obama once credited pay-as-you-go as “a big reason why we had record surpluses in the 1990s.”
Will Trump endorse PayGo?
If President Trump truly wanted to drive a wedge in the new Democrat majority in the House, he could simply endorse the PayGo measure.
He’s already demonstrated similar political savvy by driving radicals in the Democrat Party up a wall with his repeated endorsement of Pelosi as Speaker, when the socialists wanted somebody more left-wing.
Such an endorsement wouldn’t be without peril – the Republican-led House passed a waiver of PayGo rules as a means to get tax cut legislation passed in 2017. The President supporting a measure necessary to be waived as a means to pass his signature legislation might deliver opponents an argument of hypocrisy.
Is Pelosi handcuffing the socialists?
Ocasio-Cortez referring to fiscal responsibility as “bad economics” is enough to make PayGo an appealing concept. Better yet, progressives are stating it would all but destroy the Democrat agenda.
“This is a terrible move from Pelosi and Democratic Party leadership and a slap in the face for movements demanding justice and prosperity for all—not just a privileged few,” Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid accused.
“Pelosi and the Democratic Party leadership’s support of Paygo makes actually solving these crises all but impossible,” Shahid added. “The Democratic Party leadership is unilaterally disarming and shooting themselves in the foot.”
That should be enough for a presidential endorsement and serves as a tacit admission that none of these wild socialist programs can be paid for responsibly.