House OKs pay-as-you-go bill

Legislation would require savings to offset tax cuts, more spending

By GARY HARMON
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Pay-as-you-go legislation won approval Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives, but faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

The measure, which was approved 265 to 166 and was supported by U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., would require Congress to find savings to offset tax cuts or spending increases.

Known as “paygo,” the measure “is a critical step to get our nation’s fiscal house in order,” Salazar said in a statement.

The measure would prevent “Congress and the White House from bringing bills to the floor that aren’t paid for.”

Pay-as-you-go “is an important part of a strategy to roll back the deficits built up by the past administration, as well as the deficit spending needed to get our economy out of recession,” Salazar said.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., is to introduce the measure in the Senate and he said in a statement that he welcomed the House vote.

“Coloradans have been forced to tighten their fiscal belts,” Bennet said. “It’s time the government did too.”

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Ken Conrad, D-N.D., has said he doubts paygo will do enough to reduce the deficit, which is predicted to exceed $1.8 trillion this year.

The House and Senate in 2007 adopted paygo principles as congressional rules and this measure would make the rules harder to waive.


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