When Democrats took over the House of Representatives last year, they promised change. One of the changes they promised is known as "paygo." What it means in layman's terms is that every tax cut (haha!) or spending increase has to be offset by spending cuts or tax increases. In theory, this means there would be none of the GOP's borrow-and-spend. Instead, we'd get the Democrats' tax-and-spend.
Having laid out the change brought to Washington by the Democrats, I now give you this from The Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum.
In four separate pieces of legislation -- two energy bills, the farm bill and a bill that would fund rural schools and libraries -- lawmakers in the House of Representatives make use of $6 billion in payments from oil companies.
Unfortunately, the same $6 billion gets spent in each bill.
What's more, because of a recent federal court ruling, it's unclear whether that money will ever be collected.
The House has voted repeatedly to put that $6 billion to work. In January, the fee turned up as paying for most of a small energy conservation bill. In July, the House voted to include the fee as a minor contribution to the costs of the massive farm-subsidy legislation. The next month the House put the fee to use in a separate and larger energy bill. And in September, a House committee wrapped the fee into legislation that would underwrite schools and libraries, primarily in the West.
If you're wondering if the bank will let you spend your lottery winnings -- that you're extremely unlikely to ever receive because you haven't even bought a ticket -- four times over, let me save you the asking. The answer is "no."
What does House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office have to say about this?
"It's hypocritical for the Republicans to criticize us," said Brendan Daly, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "They would often use the same pay-fors" while bills were making their way through Congress, and only enact one of them into law.
First, does that mean that only one of these bills is going to be passed into law? I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.
Second, Nancy told me the Democrats were going to be different.