There was some discussion of PAYGO and its controversial presence in the Democrat’s rules package in yesterday’s comments, so I thought you might be interested in Jim Newell’s latest:
With all but one Republican expected to vote against the rules package, Democrats can afford only 19 defections on the floor. Khanna and Ocasio-Cortez’s opposition seemed to signal a potential flood of defections that could force a last-minute rewrite. But neither Khanna nor the Progressive Caucus were actively whipping against the rules package Wednesday, and few others seemed willing to publicly threaten votes against it. Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Mark Pocan, meanwhile, tweeted that he had gotten assurances from Democratic leaders that the new PAYGO rule “will not be an impediment to advancing key progressive priorities in the 116th Congress.” In other words: He had gotten assurances that the rule, when inconvenient, would just be waived by a simple majority vote in the House.
That gets to a bigger point that Pocan also makes in his tweets: The real pay-go problem for progressives is the pay-go law that Congress passed in 2010, not the House’s pay-go rule, which comes and goes and gets waived or circumvented over and over.
The Republicans regularly voted to waive the PAYGO law when voting through their tax cut agenda, but of course as soon as Democrats are in charge in the House, the Senate will have a change of heart. That’s why it’s smart politics to be against PAYGO – it’s just another leverage point that Republicans will use when they want to thwart the Democratic legislative agenda. Democrats used PAYGO to run a surplus in the 90’s and it got us nowhere politically. We don’t need to do that again.
Also, as a New Yorker as well as a Democrat, I’m happy that AOC is out making noise about this. She’s from a solid D district and she should act that way. There’s a double standard in the media on “disloyalty”. When you’re a purple district Democrat you can run to every TV camera in town and bleat about legislation you’re opposing because it’s “too liberal”, and nary a tweet is tweeted about how that’s backstabbing Pelosi. Yet when a deep blue district Democrat opposes a piece of legislation that’s not liberal enough, he or she endures a tinkle shower of tweets telling him or her to STFU and get back in their lane. I hope that AOC’s example of how they can be primaried from the left will encourage a few other safe seat New York reps (*cough* Brian Higgins *cough*) to be out and proud.