House Democrats blocked a Republican measure Monday to cut a provision in the Democrats’ rules package for the 117th Congress exempting favored legislation from PAYGO requirements such as the socialist Green New Deal.
PAYGO requirements stipulate that any legislation spending money must include a “payfor” component that could come in the form of additional legislation analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offering members insight into the true cost of any new spending bill. Under the proposed Democratic rules, however, proposals such as the Green New Deal are exempt from the requirement, protecting its supporters from having to answer how to cover its initial estimated $93 trillion price tag.
“On only day two of the 117th Congress, House Democrats are already attempting to strip Americans of the transparency they deserve in order to push through an expensive progressive wish-list,” House Budget Committee Republican Ranking Member Jason Smith of Missouri admonished lawmakers. “This exemption is irresponsible since arguably it could apply to any radical, progressive, out-of-touch legislation dreamed up next by House Democrats.”
Democrats blocked the Republicans’ Motion to Commit, striking the exemption by a margin of 217 to the GOP’s 203 voting in favor. The radical proposals Smith prophesied are certainly in the pipeline.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi captured her fourth term leading the chamber by a seven-vote margin to preside over the slimmest majority in two decades. Democrats now run the lower chamber with 222 members in their caucus to 211 Republicans.
Two House races are still pending in New York and Iowa. In Iowa, the prevailing Republican was provisionally seated after capturing the contest by a mere six votes. The small majority offers the expanding progressive “squad” more leverage to shape legislation through the lower chamber, which grew from a four-member socialist group to six in the new Congress.
Squad up. pic.twitter.com/bp2KATL22R
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) January 3, 2021
With few votes to spare on major legislation, Pelosi will need to keep her caucus’s farthest-left members on board. The final check on two years of Democrats passing every item on their wish list with an incoming Democratic president then falls to the Senate, control of which will be decided in the Georgia Senate runoffs Tuesday.