Budget Hawks Debut PAYGO Tracker ‘To Keep Lawmakers Accountable’

October 10, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget debuted a new tool Thursday — a PAYGO Tracker — to keep tabs on how well lawmakers are abiding by budget rules requiring new spending and tax cuts to be offset.

The tracker will be regularly updated and available here.

In a statement the self-proclaimed “budget hawks” said, “the first rule of getting out of a hole is to stop digging it deeper. Yet … lawmakers continue to regularly evade or ignore pay-as-you-go budget rules.

“The PAYGO Tracker will track ongoing and enacted legislation starting in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 to determine the extent to which policymakers are abiding by PAYGO,” the committee continues. “We will focus on legislation that has a significant budgetary impact and receives a floor vote by at least one chamber of Congress.”

At present, PAYGO is enforced in three different ways:

  • Rules in the House and Senate require all tax and mandatory spending legislation to be offset;
  • The statutory PAYGO law requires policymakers to offset the five- and ten-year cost of any tax and mandatory spending changes in legislation over the course of a calendar year; and
  • PAYGO principles and norms encourage policymakers to ensure legislation doesn’t add to long-term deficits or rely on budget gimmicks, regardless of technicalities.

The committee says its PAYGO Tracker will highlight efforts to waive, evade, cancel, or ignore PAYGO rules, the PAYGO law, or PAYGO principles.

It goes on to say the tool will also show the scored cost or savings and total cost or savings for each bill, and include a paragraph description of the legislation and how policymakers are abiding by or circumventing PAYGO rules.

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