Liberal Revolt Spoils Dem's First Day in Power
Reps. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said they would vote against the rules changes on Thursday - in the second vote Democrats will take in the majority, after electing Pelosi, D-Calif., because of the inclusion of a fiscal measure known as "pay as you go," or PAYGO. That rule, echoing a provision in federal law and in the Senate's rules, would require the House to offset any spending so as not to increase the budget deficit.
It remains to be seen whether the liberals will have the votes to torpedo the rules package, which sets the parameters for the new House. Defeat of the rules package would be an embarrassing setback for Pelosi that could herald further divides in the Democratic caucus.
In the near term, however, Democrats could regroup and revise the package to win votes and move ahead on the House's work, including a vote on legislation to reopen the government.
Liberals such as Khanna and Ocasio-Cortez - and a number of activists on the political left - argue that PAYGO amounts to a legislative straitjacket that could impede their efforts to pass ambitious new social programs. And they are especially dubious of its necessity after congressional Republicans waived the law in 2017 to pass a tax bill that added more than $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over its first decade.
The PAYGO rules go back to Congress' attempts to rein in the budget deficits of the 1980s.
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