Thursday, 24 January, 2019

What is Paygo? Why progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez oppose Pelosi's rule

Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Modal Trigger Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez AP
Celia Hoffman | 03 January, 2019, 12:51

The bill is not expected to pass the Republican-controlled Senate, but will set the Democratic priorities for this year's Congress. House Democrats are reportedly exploring alternative methods of obtaining Trump's tax returns: the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, may have legal power to request the president's tax returns. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the bonuses and salary hikes companies gave to their workers as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act "crumbs" past year and said the legislation would lead to "Armageddon".

When the 116th Congress is sworn in, one of the first votes they will take is on a rules package that will govern how Congress operates.

Incoming New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has quickly become a leading progressive voice in the freshman class, also said that she would not vote for the package on Twitter. Democrats believe under an obscure IRS rule, the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal of MA, has the power to obtain the returns from the Treasury Department.

Eighteen Democrats will have to vote against the rules package in order to defeat it. More importantly, for the short term, the House can not proceed with legislative business at the start of each new Congress until the rules are settled.

Democrats promised to repeal the Republican-passed tax reform package during the 2018 mid-term elections. Progressives have argued PAYGO could hinder Democrats' agenda and new bills regarding entitlement programs that could be costly.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio), a former Pelosi foe, also came out against the pay-go rule but didn't say he would vote against the rules package entirely. "We shouldn't hinder ourselves from the start", she added. One of the rules the chamber must abide by is known as "pay-go".

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"We all agree that the real problem with PAYGO exists in the statute that requires it", they said in a statement.

So far, Khanna and Ocasio-Cortez are the only Democrats to announce opposition to the package.

"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, referring to the budget director and acting White House chief of staff.

The three Democrats banded together to express their frustrations Wednesday, with two of them publicly saying they planned to break from Democratic ranks and vote against Pelosi's rules change replacing a Republican budget rule called Cut-as-You-Go (CUTGO) with Pay-as-You-Go (PAYGO). Sixteen current and incoming House Democrats signed a letter in November saying they believed, "more strongly than ever that the time has come for new leadership".

House Democratic leaders agreed previous year to drop another rule proposal opposed by Pocan and Jayapal, one that would have made it more hard to pass legislation raising taxes.

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