Skip to Content

Support MinnPost

Walz, Blue Dog Dems hail Obama's 'Pay Go' budget rules

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Minnesota’s 1st District Democratic Rep. Tim Walz heralded as a major victory President Obama’s announcement today of a pay-as-you-go rule for budgeting. A coalition of Blue Dog Democrats, who were also present at the event, hailed the move, too.

Obama, in an effort to emphasize fiscal discipline at a time when many are concerned with the massive amounts of money that the government has been spending, called on Congress today to institute strict budget rules.

“The ‘pay as you go’ rule is very simple,” Obama said today during an event at the White House. “Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere... Entitlement increases and tax cuts need to be paid for. They're not free, and borrowing to finance them is not a sustainable long-term policy.”

“I couldn’t be happier, to tell you the truth,” Walz said in an interview after the event, adding, “This means that there is no out on this. The House either balances it, or it is done by the president.”

The federal budget deficit is estimated to approach $2 trillion in the current fiscal year, which Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently warned could cause long-term interests rates to skyrocket.

But Republicans, on Tuesday, argued that Obama’s announcement basically amounted to nothing more than a public relations strategy.

“It seems a tad disingenuous for the president and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi to talk about PAYGO rules after ramming trillions in spending through Congress,” said House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., in a statement. He added: “It’s as if the Administration and these Democrat leaders are living in an alternate universe. The quickest way to save money is to stop recklessly spending it.”

On that note, Walz retorted: “Hearing Minority Whip Cantor’s [statement] was a bit like hearing Bernie Madoff lecture us on ethics.”

But, when it comes to instituting the rules, Obama could actually face more resistance from Senate Democrats than congressional Republicans.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has publicly pointed to some of the limitations of Pay Go, as well as the increased power it would give to the White House.

Obama’s proposal would require any new tax cut or entitlement program to be paid for but would provide exceptions for Social Security payments and some other programs.

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Related Tags:

Comments (3)

Here Read:

+ Canadian Health Insurance: Lessons for the United States / Government Accountability Office (GAO):

--“If the universal coverage and single-payer features of the Canadian system were applied in the United States, the savings in administrative cost alone would be more than enough to finance insurance coverage for the millions of Americans who are currently uninsured.”

+ The Truth About Drug Companies / Mother Jones:

“… Angell attacks major pharmaceutical industry -- whose top ten companies make more in profits than the rest of the Fortune 500 COMBINED -- for using “free market” rhetoric while opposing competition at all costs.”

Why not Universal Health Care with a $25 deductible after the first annual visit?

the Obama White House is committed to the idea that their Nazi health care "reform" policy must be rammed through Congress during the summer. Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi dragged the three key House committee chairs, Charles Rangel (Ways and Means), George Miller (Education and Labor), and Henry Waxman (Energy and Commerce) to the White House, for a face-to-face meeting with the President. The meeting was intended by de facto Speaker of the House Rahm Emanuel, to be the kickoff for a sprint to ram through a "Congressionally-drafted" bill.

The calendar being pushed by the White House is for the House to hold hearings on June 24 on draft legislation, to be completed by then. Either the three committees will hold separate hearings, or joint hearings. The final draft is to be completed before the July 4th recess, and brought out of committee and to the full House for a vote—all before the Congressional summer recess in August. The same schedule is being pushed in the Senate. The idea is to have both bills passed in July, so that staffers can work on reconciliation of the two bills—which are certain to be quite different—during August. The White House wants both Houses to debate the final version and vote it up in September—so the President can have an Oval Office signing ceremony on Oct. 1, 2009!

One senior Congressional staffer heavily involved in the single-payer legislation confirmed the crash calendar, noting, "They have to have this bill passed by Oct. 1, because that is when the flu season begins. And we are in for a potential pandemic. They can't pass their bill in the midst of a medical catastrophe."

Another senior staffer made it clear that the White House delivered an ultimatum from the outset: There will be no talk of any single-payer plan. The Conyers single-payer bill has 76 co-sponsors, and none of them (mostly Democrats) is going to be happy with the stampede the White House is trying to engineer.

Today is not a good day to be using the N-word when there is a shooting at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.