Nancy Pelosi Kicks Off Year by Picking a Fight With Progressives

Some progressive Democrats have announced that they will vote against the House Democrats’ new package of legislative rules, the first order of business when the new Congress officially convenes on Thursday, based on of a number of changes championed by conservatives that progressives argue will hamstring their policy objectives.

As soon as the new Congress is sworn in on Thursday, House Democrats will attempt to pass the new rules for how the House of Representatives conducts its business for the next two years. Assuming none of the 197 House Republicans vote to approve the rules package, the 234-Democratic majority cannot lose more than 16 votes to pass the new rules package. But there are growing signs that presumed incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will kick off her second tenure by angering a significant portion of her caucus, potentially spoiling for an embarrassing first run of Democratic governance in the Trump era.

The inclusion of the “pay as you go” provision, commonly known as PAYGO, requires that any increase in entitlement spending must be offset by revenue increases or budget cuts in other entitlement programs in order to prevent the deficit from increasing, and is the rule change prompting the most objections. As CBS News noted, “The deficit jumped by 17 percent in 2018, after the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul passed in 2017. While managing a yawning deficit may be a priority for Pelosi, it angers progressives who oppose cutting some entitlement spending in order to increase funding for other programs.”

A form of PayGo already enacted into law requires across-the-board spending cuts to pay for spending increases or revenue decreases enacted by Congress at the beginning of a new year. Such cuts are slated to go into effect this month unless Congress passes legislation turning them off, as it did for last year’s tax cuts.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the push for self-imposed austerity has…

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