Ocasio-Cortez Will Vote Against Pelosi’s Rules Package Because It Hinders Medicare For All

L: Reuters/Yuri Gripas, R: Reuters/Carlos Barria

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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New York Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and California Rep. Ro Khanna, both Democrats, announced Wednesday they will vote against presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s rules package because they say it hinders progressive policies.

“I will be voting NO on the Rules package with PayGo. 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 wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

The progressive politicians are against PAYGO, which stands for “pay as you go.” There are several variations of PAYGO, but it essentially mandates that new expenditures are offset by budget cuts or new revenue streams.

Its purpose is to keep from adding to the federal debt, but Ocasio-Cortez and Khanna see it as an obstacle to the progressive policies they want to implement like Medicare for all, tuition-free college and the Green New Deal. (RELATED: Here Are Six Republican Women To Watch In 2019)

“Tomorrow I will also vote No on the rules package, which is trying to slip in PAYGO. PAYGO isn’t only bad economics, as Ro Khanna explains; it’s also a dark political maneuver designed to hamstring progress on healthcare [and] other [legislation]. We shouldn’t hinder ourselves from the start,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter later Wednesday morning.

Rep Ro Khanna speaks at a rally with MoveOn members and allies gather with leading senators to demand that the Senate vote to reject Mike Pompeo's nomination for Secretary of State at US Capitol on April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MoveOn.org)

Rep. Ro Khanna speaks at a rally with MoveOn members and allies gather with leading senators to demand that the Senate vote to reject Mike Pompeo’s nomination for Secretary of State at U.S. Capitol on April 11, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MoveOn.org)

If eighteen Democrats including Ocasio-Cortez and Khanna vote against the rules package, Pelosi might have to go back to the drawing board. Pelosi’s package also contains a provision that automatically passes a resolution suspending the federal debt limit when the House passes an annual budget resolution, reported The Washington Times Wednesday.

This isn’t the first time Pelosi has faced pressure from progressives over rules for the 116th Congress. House Democrats caved to their progressive wing in December and decided to scrap a rule that would have required a three-fifths supermajority vote to pass any new tax hikes. Progressives wanted to do away with the rule completely to use tax hikes to fund programs like Medicare for all or tuition-free public colleges, which were two items on Ocasio-Cortez’s platform, reported The Washington Post.

Along with many other Democrats, both Ocasio-Cortez and Khanna have been pushing a “Green New Deal” as a wide-ranging plan to fight global warming. Khanna has said he wants a “strong” climate committee in the House despite opposition from Democratic higher-ups.

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