House Democrats caved to their progressive wing Tuesday and decided to scrap a rule that would have required a three-fifths supermajority vote to pass any new tax hikes.
Democratic New York Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrated the move.
“When I first won, folks said we were too naive, inexperienced, and uninformed to be effective,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “Yet in our first weeks, we elevated Green New Deal to national urgency, secured 30 cosponsors on a Select Committee, and helped stop a bad tax rule. I’d say we’re off to a good start.”
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. Other Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wanted a compromise: cut back the rule so that it does not apply to corporations and America’s most wealthy 20 percent of citizens, essentially making easier to raise taxes on them.
“It’s barely gotten any attention, but Nancy Pelosi just made it easier for House Dems to raise taxes on everyone,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “Not on the wealthy. Everyone. They’ve never been for the middle class – just more government.”
The rule originated with Republicans and will end when their House majority ends and Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern becomes chair of the House Rules Committee, according to WaPo.
Pelosi spokesperson Henry Connelly pointed out to WaPo that House Republicans waived the rule in 2017 when passing tax legislation.
“Unlike the House GOP, at the end of the day, the Democratic majority doesn’t need an arcane rule to keep our promise to protect middle class taxpayers,” Connelly told WaPo in an email.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus celebrated the rule change.
“We are pleased to announce that the Rules Package for the 116th Congress will not include the 3/5 supermajority tax provision promoted by House Republicans in recent years,” said a Caucus Twitter post from Tuesday.
Pelosi is all but guaranteed to be Speaker of the House for the 116th Congress.
Pelosi said she was “pretty comfortable” with her chances of being Speaker if the Democrats took control of the House before the midterm elections in 2018.
“I am a great legislator,” Pelosi said at CNN’s Citizen conference Oct. 22. “And one reason I am is because I recognize the contributions of others, our committee chairs and all the rest. … I am also politically astute. I took them to a victory in 2006, I know how to do this.”
The House Democrats are expected to launch multiple investigations into President Donald Trump, his family businesses and other entities once the new Congress is sworn in.