By Tal Axelrod
Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) introduced a bill Friday to repeal pay-as-you-go budgetary rules, a stipulation unpopular among progressives that requires that legislation be deficit neutral.
“I have long been concerned about PAYGO and its legislative implications,” Jayapal said in a statement. “Taking it out of the rules package does not address the real problem which is that it is a statutory requirement. That’s why today I am introducing legislation to repeal PAYGO and hold hearings immediately on why PAYGO is bad policy and bad for millions of working Americans who deserve a bold, visionary progressive agenda.”
Pay-go, which requires that any added cost of legislation be offset with new revenue or cuts elsewhere, was thrust into the spotlight after progressives criticized its inclusion in the House's recently passed rules package.
Her bill seeks to repeal the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, which extends the budgetary stipulation to all new legislation, rather than the pay-go aspect of the rules package. The Senate also has its own version of pay-go.
Progressive Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voted against the House package because of the budgetary rule, claiming it would make it easier to cut funding for legislative priorities.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that pay-go was “a dark political maneuver designed to hamstring progress on healthcare+other” legislation.
However, Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Jayapal, the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, voted for the rules after getting assurances from House Democratic leaders and House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) that the pay-go rule can be waived.
Jayapal declared her intention to introduce legislation to fully repeal pay-go when she announced her vote for the rules package this week.
Khanna and Ocasio-Cortez are both co-sponsors on Jayapal’s bill.