House Democrats blocked a Republican attempt on Monday to require any proposed climate change legislation to also include its projected cost.
Under the Pay As You Go (PAYGO) rule, any additional government spending proposed must be accompanied by tax increases or separate cuts. After a push from several lawmakers in the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, however, the rules package for the 117th Congress states PAYGO will not apply to legislation relating to the necessary economic recovery or U.S. efforts to combat climate change.
Exempt from the budgetary requirements are “measures to prevent, prepare for, or respond to economic or public health consequences resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic… and measures to prevent, prepare for, or respond to economic, environmental, or public health consequences resulting from climate change,” the package outlines.
Progressives in the House have won a rules change that would allow Medicare for All, a Green New Deal or other big ticket agenda items to be exempted from paygo. This was a necessary step in opening the way for it. pic.twitter.com/OAqpIhTxp7
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) January 1, 2021
Republicans, led by Budget Committee Ranking Member Jason Smith, made a motion to commit to pulling the exemption relating to climate change, but their attempt was ultimately blocked by House Democrats.
Speaking on the floor before the vote, Smith accused Democrats of “attempting to strip Americans of the transparency they deserve in order to push through an expensive progressive wish-list.”
“[These] rules will continue to let Democrats shirk their duty to write and pass a budget,” Smith added. “The people deserve… a transparent budget to know how House Democrats plan to spend their hard-earned tax dollars and increase their taxes.”
With the exemption for climate change-related legislation sweeping proposals like the Green New Deal could be introduced without being accompanied by their expected costs. A 2019 estimate from the American Action Forum found that the plan would cost approximately $93 trillion over the next 10 years.
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