The New House Spending Rule on Covid and Climate

The new Democratic House of Representatives organized itself this week, and James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal reports that one notable achievement was gutting the existing and not very effective spending controls.

The new rules package for the 117th Congress grants a sweeping new exemption from deficit controls for two favored types of spending: countering the coronavirus and … wait for it .. programs to combat climate change.

If the House leadership can construct a spending bill that seems to relate to either pandemic fighting or climate change, there’s no restraint on how much can be spent. Obviously both parties are willing to spend a lot to counteract the pandemic, but read the other part: Congress can overlook the budget impact of “measures to prevent, prepare for, or respond to economic, environmental, or public health consequences resulting from climate change.”

What is that debt-financed gold mine likely to pay for? Unlimited subsidies for otherwise uncompetitive wind and solar electricity. Huge subsidies to get people to buy electric vehicles. Charging stations giving away electricity for free. Insulating every home in America. Paying to rebuild beachfront homes to deal with rising sea levels – now occurring at the rate of one foot per century.  Flood and drought reparations for lost crops. Bailouts of state and local governments claiming climate damages.

Politicians – both liberals and so-called conservatives -  get really inventive when they sniff unlimited money to spend.

 John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.


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Enter Comment Here:

  • Christian M
    commented 2021-01-12 11:14:09 -0500
    Some additional information:

    “The practical effect of the rules changes may not be all that significant, since the House regularly waives existing pay-as-you-go rules and uses emergency designations to get around appropriations caps. More than $3 trillion in pandemic relief measures became law last year alone, for instance.

    But the changes could make it easier for House Democratic leaders to bring expensive bills to the floor, since rules governing floor debates will be tougher to adopt given the party’s razor-thin majority."
  • David Flemming
    published this page in EAI Blog 2021-01-11 15:05:55 -0500