The House on Tuesday adopted a controversial rule to require macroeconomic scoring on major legislation in the new Congress, which opponents say will politicize impartial budget analyses.
The provision, part of the rules package that the House considers at the start of every new Congress, passed largely along party lines by a vote of 234-172. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) voted "present."
GOP lawmakers argued that emphasizing macroeconomic scoring, which factors in economy-wide impacts like the rates of inflation and employment, simply provided a more comprehensive assessment of a bill's impact on the federal budget.
"It doesn't game the system at all. All we're trying to do is make certain that members of Congress have more information upon which to be able to make decisions," said incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.)
But Democrats suggested that the scoring method would exaggerate the impact of tax cuts and politicize the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
"Republicans today are extending their embrace of voodoo economics by wrapping their arms around voodoo scorekeeping. Again, it's not about more information, but it's able to cook the books to implement their long-held discredited notion that tax cuts pay for themselves," said Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
Price dismissed Democrats' claims that the macroeconomic analyses would be too speculative.
"This is craziness," Price said. "All economic projections, all, static, dynamic, all of them, have a level of uncertainty."
Democrats also objected to a provision in the rules package that doesn't allow the chamber's six non-voting delegates to cast floor votes in certain circumstances. Delegates have been allowed to cast votes on amendments when the House is in a state known as the Committee of the Whole under Democratic majorities.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) waged a campaign over the last several weeks to restore the limited voting privileges, but was unsuccessful.
The rules package also includes provisions to extend the GOP lawsuit against President Obama for his use of executive power, as well as the existence of the panel investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.