Former President Barack Obama on Monday cautioned freshman House Democrats against proposing expensive liberal policies without knowing how to pay for them first, according to a new report.
Mr. Obama told lawmakers to keep pursuing “bold” ideas but to also consider the costs associated with those ideas, people in the room told The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.
The former president didn’t name specific policies, but some lawmakers interpreted his comments as criticism of single-payer health care and the Green New Deal, a multitrillion-dollar plan spearheaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that seeks to transition the country completely off fossil fuels within 10 years.
“He said we [as Democrats] shouldn’t be afraid of big, bold ideas — but also need to think in the nitty-gritty about how those big, bold ideas will work and how you pay for them,” one source told The Post.
Sources said Mr. Obama told Democrats to be ready to answer constituents’ questions about the price tag associated with their promises.
“Obama gave the example of taxes: Even a liberal, he argued, could be repelled from supporting a liberal policy if it’s accompanied by a major tax cut to their own bottom line,” The Post reported.
The former president made the remarks at a reception to “celebrate the freshman class of the 116th Congress” held at the Washington home of Esther Coopersmith, who served as the representative to the United Nations during the Carter administration, Politico reported.