Corporate Democrats Propose “Pay-Go” Rule to Undermine Healthcare, Jobs

January 3, 2019

As they take the reins of the House of Representatives, the corporate Democrats who still retain leadership of their party are proposing a measure called “pay-go” which would make it harder for Congress to address working people’s needs.

Action is needed now: call your Member of Congress at (202) 224-3121 and tell them NO on pay-go!

The pay-go measure requires any proposal for new spending to be offset immediately by either spending cuts or tax increases, making it hard for Congress to even consider measures such as Medicare for All single-payer healthcare — a major UE priority — or major job-creating infrastructure investments.

Pay-go also increases the power of the House and committee leadership to curtail debate. Finding the appropriate “offsets” would require any pro-worker Member of Congress with a bold idea to go begging powerful committee chairs before introducing the idea onto the floor for debate. The Economic Policy Institute has detailed how “pay-go” rules undermined both the scope and effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, and the recovery from the 2008 recession: “If … public spending following the Great Recession had followed the average path of the recoveries of the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, a full recovery with unemployment around 4 percent would have been achieved by 2013.”

Presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), who will be sworn in today, has included the measure in the rules package for the 116th Congress. As of this writing, only two Democrats have announced they will vote against the rules package if it contains PayGo: Ro Khanna (D-California) and incoming Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York). Only 18 “no” votes from Democrats are necessary to defeat the rules package. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has also encouraged his colleagues in the House to oppose the rule.