in order to use the procedure to prevent spending increases from adding to the deficit...but tax cuts that add to the deficit are 100% okay!
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examined the GOP's proposed new rules for the House, and here's what they found.
The new rules would stand the reconciliation process on its head, by allowing the House to use reconciliation to push through bills that greatly increase deficits as long as the deficit increases result from tax cuts, while barring the use of reconciliation in the House for legislation that reduces the deficit if that legislation contains a net increase in spending (no matter how small) that is more than offset by revenue-raising provisions.To translate: Bush tax cuts are fine, but, say, paying for infrastructure projects by taxing carbon would be forbidden, even if the net result would be a reduction in the deficit.
This is just one key feature of the GOP's playbook: CUT/GO. Under CUT/GO, all new spending has to be paid for, but tax cuts do not. Additionally any new spending must be paid for with parallel spending cuts elsewhere in the budget -- not with tax hikes. So unemployment benefits couldn't be paid for by closing a corporate tax loophole. But a corporate tax loophole could be widened without requiring any offsets.
The practical implications for now are nil. The Democrats still control the Senate, and, even if they didn't, the Senate's rules are more arcane and harder to change. But Democrats are currently weighing a few modest changes to other Senate rules, and you could imagine Republicans in a future Congress taking steps to make tax cuts even easier to pass.
The CUT/GO era is upon us. Republicans plan to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy -- or pretend to pay for them -- by cutting as much social spending as possible. Anyone who voted Republicans in to be fiscally responsible really needs to have their head examined, because they are telegraphing their moves to pile on the deficit months in advance.