Rep. Ro Khanna of California and Rep. -elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY said they would vote against the rules changes - in the second vote Democrats will take in the majority after ostensibly electing Pelosi as the new speaker - because of the inclusion of a fiscal measure known as "pay as you go", or PAYGO.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio), a former Pelosi foe, also came out against the pay-go rule but didn't say he would vote against the rules package entirely.
The US Congress starts its new two-year session on Thursday.
"With our first votes, House Democrats - led by members from the National Capital Region - will demonstrate our commitment to restoring support for the federal workforce in Congress". Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Pramila Jayapal of Washington said in a joint statement Wednesday they plan to vote for the rules package after receiving assurances that paygo can be waived and won't be an impediment to progressive priorities. Democrats believe under an obscure IRS rule, the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal of MA, has the power to obtain the returns from the Treasury Department. The rule changes involved automatically raising the debt ceiling when a new budget is passed along with other procedural tweaks.
What's more important is that Paygo has been shown to do real political damage.
Drew Hammill, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, responded to criticism of the pay-go rule by noting how a federal law signed under President Barack Obama mandates across-the-board cuts to other programs if new deficit-increasing legislation is enacted.
"We must not handcuff our New Democratic majority, so PAYGO is a no-go for me", Ryan said. Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, has become a star on the left for her pugnacious attitude in advancing liberal causes.
"Tomorrow I will also vote No on the rules package, which is trying to slip in #PAYGO".
So far, Democrats have given no signs of needing to revise the measure to win votes - and assuming its passage Thursday afternoon, Pelosi plans to move quickly to vote on legislation that would reopen portions the government that have been closed for almost two weeks amid a standoff over money demanded by President Trump for a border wall. Only 18 Democrats need to oppose it to prevent the new rules from passing.