GOP budget reforms advance in the House

The House voted Friday to advance three budget reform bills and will pass one of them today, just days before members will pass the latest Republican budget.

Members voted 220-194 to approve a rule for the three budget reform bills. Like many rule votes, this one was approved on a party-line vote.

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The House will debate and vote on one of these bills today — H.R. 1874, the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act. This legislation would require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to conduct macroeconomic analyses of major bills, including their effects on jobs.

It would also require the impact of bills 40 years out, not just 10 years out the way bills are currently scored. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) said ObamaCare is an example of legislation that only had to be scored over 10 years, even though it will have costs and job impacts that extend well beyond 10 years.

Democrats see the bill as an attempt to institute "dynamic scoring" of legislation, something that Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said is a "gimmick" to help advance Republican budget goals.

"They tweak the CBO's analysis so that tax cuts for the wealthy seem like they grow the economy while investments in programs that help everyday Americans do not," he said.

The GOP has defended dynamic scoring over "static" scoring as a way to better understand how major bills passed by Congress affect jobs and the economy, as well as impacts on the debt. Woodall said this change is needed because, without this sort of policy in place, the federal government has incurred a huge debt, and he said the GOP budget up next week would cut $5 trillion in planned spending in part to pay these interest charges.

"Every single reduction in spending … is necessitated because, dollar for dollar, we're wasting those same receipts on paying the debts that previous Congresses have racked up," Woodall said. "And that is a Budget Committee-passed budget. The president's budget… proposes to spend $6 trillion over the next 10 years on interest alone."

Other bills covered by the rule are the Baseline Reform Act, H.R. 1871, which would end the use of automatic inflation increases from one year to the next, and the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, H.R. 1872, which is aimed at more accurate government accounting.