Sanders worries pay-go rules could complicate climate change action

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Meghan McCain: Bernie Sanders supporting prisoners being able to vote 'bats**t insane' 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) KhannaKhanna breaks with Sanders on voting rights for Boston Marathon bomber: 'I wouldn't go that far' Buttigieg responds to criticism after comparing Sanders, Trump supporters Environmentalists see victory with Green New Deal blitz MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Pelosi: Dems may get to impeachment, but 'we're not there yet' Maxine Waters is the Wall Street sheriff the people deserve 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 PocanAppeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers Dems counter portrait of discord Divided Dems look to regroup MORE (D-Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care: Trump poised to roll back transgender health protections | House Dems plan 'Medicare for All' hearing next week | Walgreens, Rite Aid raise tobacco-buying age to 21 | Drug distributor faces charges for role in opioid crisis House Dems to hold hearing on 'Medicare for All' next week Overnight Health Care: How 2020 Dems want to overhaul health care | Brooklyn parents sue over measles vaccination mandate | Measles outbreak nears record 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 PelosiTrevor Noah on lack of Pelosi nickname from Trump: 'There is a reverence for her' Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court The Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? 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 MulvaneyNielsen was warned not to talk to Trump about new Russian election interference: report Oversight chair wants to hold ex-White House official in contempt Consumer bureau to give firms more info about investigations 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.”