Sanders worries pay-go rules could complicate climate change action

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersChamber of Commerce argues against Democratic proposals for financial transaction taxes Top Sanders adviser: 'He is a little bit angry' Working Families Party endorses Warren after backing Sanders in 2016 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) KhannaYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Khanna: I 'didn't appreciate' Castro's attack on Biden Overwhelming majority of voters want lawmakers to work with other party MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez calls for Kavanaugh to be impeached Why are we turning a blind eye to right-wing incitement of violence? Bill Maher, Michael Moore spar over Democrats' strategy for 2020 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 PocanOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry MORE (D-Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalPelosi woos progressives on prescription drug pricing plan Democrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril Overnight Health Care: Watchdog details severe trauma suffered by separated children | Judge approves B CVS-Aetna merger | House Dem Caucus chair backs 'Medicare for All' 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 PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico This week: House jump-starts effort to prevent shutdown Schumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill 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 MulvaneyNOAA chief praises agency scientists after statement backing up Trump tweet The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Democrats ramp up calls to investigate NOAA 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.”