Democratic Representatives Ro Khanna and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that they will vote against bylaws to govern the 116th Congress that is backed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the likely next Speaker.
According to Bloomberg, they are objecting to the inclusion of what’s known as a pay-as-you-go budgetary rule, which requires that legislation be deficit neutral, meaning any costs would need to be offset with new revenue or cuts elsewhere.
Budget watchers say pay-go is an important budget tool for keeping the federal deficit in check, but Khanna and Ocasio-Cortez have railed against it.
“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,” Khanna tweeted on Wednesday.
Ocasio-Cortez echoed previous criticism among progressives that the rule is “a dark political maneuver designed to hamstring progress on healthcare+other leg.”
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill shot back, arguing pay-go would be an improvement from current GOP rules, which he called “CUTGO,” that 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.