Democrats: As tax bill vote nears, PAYGO unresolved |

Democrats: As tax bill vote nears, PAYGO unresolved

As the Republican leadership plans a vote on the tax bill as early as today, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., joined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. and other House Democrats, sent House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a letter that Republicans will be responsible for any resulting cuts to federal programs including farm subsidies under the statutory Pay-As-You-Go rules.

"The irresponsible tax cuts you are pursuing will explode the federal deficit, violating the principle, enshrined in the 2010 Statutory PAYGO law, that tax cuts should be paid for," the Democrats wrote in the letter last Friday.

"Under that law, your unpaid-for tax cuts, if enacted, will trigger automatic, across-the board cuts to Medicare, the farm safety net and other programs," the letter said.

"Given the lack of bipartisanship to date in your effort to provide massive tax cuts to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class while adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit, it will be your responsibility to deal with these consequences."

Republicans cannot rely on Democratic votes to resolve this problem without working in a bipartisan way to address the uncertainty their tax bill will cause to the economy and the health care system, the Democrats said in a news release.

Analyses have shown that if PAYGO is not waived for the tax bill, all key farm subsidies could end as early as January. Republican leaders have said they have passed PAYGO waivers on previous bills and will pass one this time also.

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But there appears to be no waiver in the tax bill. A Democratic House source said it is unlikely a waiver will be added to the continuing resolution expected to be passed this week, which means the issue will be left until Congress returns in January.