Sanders worries pay-go rules could complicate climate change action

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Business, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration Poll: Sanders, Biden seen as most popular second choices in Dem primary MORE (I-Vt.) said he is “concerned” about a budgetary rule known as pay-as-you-go that was included in House Democrats’ newly released rules package, saying it could complicate action on climate change.

“At a time when climate change threatens our planet, when our infrastructure is crumbling, when 30 million people have no health insurance, I'm concerned that the concept of PAYGO will make it harder for Congress to address the many crises facing our working families,” he tweeted Wednesday. 

The comment comes as House Democrats unveiled Wednesday a package of new rules for the upcoming Congress that includes a pay-go budgetary rule. The rule requires that legislation be deficit neutral, meaning any costs would need to be offset with new revenue or cuts elsewhere. But the rule can also be waived, and it does not apply to emergency legislation.

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Progressives Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaOvernight Defense: House votes to end US support for Saudis in Yemen | Vote puts Trump in veto bind | Survey finds hazards in military housing | Senators offer new bill on Russia sanctions House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen Congress poised to put Trump in veto bind MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDem lawmaker rips opposition to Amazon going into New York: 'Now we're protesting jobs' Reporter says majority appears to favor progressive tax plans Trump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union MORE (D-N.Y.) both announced they would vote against the bylaws, citing the budgetary rule.

"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.

“PAYGO isn’t only bad economics, as @RoKhanna explains; it’s also a dark political maneuver designed to hamstring progress on healthcare+other leg. We shouldn’t hinder ourselves from the start,” Ocasio-Cortez echoed.

However, Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanHannity decries Green New Deal as 'economically guaranteed-to-be-devastating' Ocasio-Cortez unveils Green New Deal climate resolution Trump’s AIDS turnaround greeted with skepticism by some advocates MORE (D-Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Push for cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill | Court lets Dems defend ObamaCare | Flu season not as severe as last year, CDC says Democrats seek cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Utah tests Trump on Medicaid expansion | Dems roll out Medicare buy-in proposal | Medicare for all could get hearing next month | Doctors group faces political risks on guns MORE (D-Wash.), the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for the next Congress, said they will vote for the rules package.

They said they've gotten assurances from House Democratic leaders and incoming Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) that the pay-go rule can be waived.

This is not the first time Sanders has expressed concerns about pay-go, ripping it in 2017 as “a law that never should have been passed.”

“It makes it much easier for Congress to force cuts to vital programs like Medicare by passing unrelated bills that then need to be offset. But that said, just like the similarly misguided debt limit that Republicans regularly use for hostage taking, it is currently the law of the land,” he said when commenting on the GOP tax plan.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiConstitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration Why don't we build a wall with Canada? MORE (Calif.), defended the House rules and urged Democrats to support them.

“A vote AGAINST the Democratic Rules package is a vote to let Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump declares national emergency at border Puerto Rico governor threatens legal action over national emergency declaration: 'See you in court' Trump to sign border deal, declare national emergency MORE make across the board cuts, unilaterally reversing Democratic initiatives and funding increases,” he tweeted, referencing the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and acting White House chief of staff.

Eighteen Democrats would need to vote against the rules package Thursday to kill the plan if all Republicans vote “no.”