Rep. Sharice Davids Leads Freshman Colleagues in Urging House Committee Chairs to be Fiscally Responsible; Abide by Pay-As-You-Go Rules

September 4, 2019
Press Release

Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03) led a group of her House freshman colleagues in urging Committee Chairs to recommit to fiscal responsibility and abide by Congressional Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) budget rules, which ensure that any legislation that may increase the federal deficit is offset by spending cuts or revenue increase. 

 

Representatives Ben McAdams (UT-04), Colin Allred (TX-32), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Ed Case (HI-01), Joe Cunningham (SC-01), Kendra Horn (OK-05), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) and Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02) all co-signed the letter.   

 

The group of freshman lawmakers asked Committee Chairs to work with them to ensure each committee’s legislation is funded with responsible pay-fors that are considered early in the legislative process. They also ask that legislation is not advanced out of committees until the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has had time to properly review and put forth a proposed cost estimate.   

 

“Congress must do what we said we would and find ways to pay for bills we propose so we don’t leave future generations mired in debt. That starts with our Committee Chairs prioritizing fiscal responsibility and transparency, and ensuring we have a plan to pay for our priorities before bills make it to the House floor for a vote. With our nation’s debt hitting a record $22 trillion, it’s more critical than ever that we stick to the House-passed PAYGO rule and not make a bad situation worse,” said Rep. Sharice Davids.  

 

“Just as Utah families and small businesses do, Congress must identify how it will pay for new spending.  PAYGO rules helped instill the discipline that actually produced balanced budgets back in the 1990s.  It’s a proven way to hold the line and not increase the deficit,” said Rep. Ben McAdams. 

 

“As a new father, I’m dedicated to making sure we’re governing with fiscal responsibility so that future generations can tackle big problems instead of cleaning up after us. I thank my colleague, Congresswoman Davids for leading this effort. We came to Washington to work together and get things done, and it’s my hope that as we seek to pass legislation that will help North Texans, we do so in a responsible and sustainable way,” said Rep. Colin Allred. 

 

 “We cannot continue down the path of recklessly racking up charges on the country’s credit card and leaving the bill to our children and grandchildren. I promised the people of the Lowcountry I would tackle our skyrocketing national debt, and a critical first step is making sure we have a responsible way to pay for the bills we introduce. I urge our Committee Chairs to prioritize the long-term fiscal health and stability of our country and abide by PAYGO rules,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham. 

  

Full text of the letter below.  

  

Dear Committee Chairs –   

  

Thank you for your leadership in the 116th Congress. Our nation faces many challenges, and your committees are the place for thoughtful policy discussions and legislative solutions to overcome these challenges.  

  

We are new to Washington and represent constituents who sent us to Congress to bring a fresh perspective to governing and to ensure that the voices of all Americans are considered during the legislative process. Many of our constituents have expressed genuine concern about our growing national debt and deficits, and we believe that fiscal responsibility should be a shared goal of the Democratic majority.  

  

At the beginning of the 116th Congress, Speaker Pelosi and Democratic leadership agreed to a number of rules changes that would help make the legislative process more transparent and consensus driven. One of those rules was the reinstitution of Congressional Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) budget rules. Unfortunately, for much of the first eight months of the 116th Congress, we feel that PAYGO principles have not been followed throughout the legislative process, particularly as legislation is being considered at the committee level.   

  

PAYGO represents a critical step toward putting our nation on track for a fiscally sustainable future. Despite PAYGO being in the House Rules, legislation has frequently moved through the committee process before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has time to properly review and score legislation. Since there is limited time for a CBO study, members do not have enough time to properly consider the potential costs and pay-fors of the legislation before casting votes. We understand that legislation referred to multiple committees of jurisdiction can present challenges for committee chairs to identify appropriate offsets or offsets in that respective committee’s jurisdiction in advance of floor consideration. In these instances, we encourage the respective committee chairs to work collaboratively and to communicate throughout the legislative process regarding intentions for offsets. Developing ways to fund our shared policy priorities is an important step in the process that should be done in an open and transparent manner.  

  

We urge you to work with us to ensure that each committee’s legislation is funded with responsible pay-fors that are considered early in the legislative process. We also ask that legislation is not advanced out of committees until it has received a CBO score.  

  

Thank you for your consideration of these important requests, and we look forward to working with you to advance our shared priorities this Congress.  

  

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