By Erik Wasson
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) spoke for other more skeptical Democrats in saying that the bill would hurt the ability of the government to help the troubled housing sector while at the same time forcing cuts to other programs in order to keep the government beneath annual spending caps.
The other two bills would force the CBO to change the way it scores bills in ways that would tend to benefit tax cutting legislation and make increased spending more difficult. These bills face solid Democratic opposition.
The first, sponsored by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), would require certain bills to be given a dynamic score, one that reflects estimates of macroeconomic effects. The GOP argued that this supplemental analysis would provide a fuller picture of a bill’s effects on the economy.
Democrats said that legislation was written in a way that would exclude dynamic scoring for appropriations bills, which Democrats believe bolster demand and hence growth through spending.
Doggett called the Price bill the “voodoo economics act.” He noted that the bill would require a 40-year estimate of economic effects.
“My concern is that 40-year estimate of a tax bill will be about as useful as a 40-year forecast of the weather,” he said.
The second bill, sponsored by Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) would remove assumptions from CBO estimates about spending increases due to inflation.
“This legislation removes a pro-spending bias,” Woodall said.
On Wednesday, the Budget Committee will take up a fourth reform bill, a measure to give the yearly budget resolution the force of law by requiring the president to sign it. Proponents argue that the bill would help avoid government shutdown crises by having the president involved earlier in the budget process.
Opponents say it give the White House too much leverage in spending decisions that should be in the domain of Congress. The Legally Binding Budget bill was passed out of the Rules Committee on Monday by a 5-2 vote.
A fifth reform bills, sponsored by Van Hollen and Ryan, moved out of committee in December. That bill would grant a type of line-item veto to the president.
Ryan said after the markup that further budget reform bills proposed by committee members would likely wait until after the committee tackles the 2013 budget resolution.
With Easter break looming during the first two weeks of April — a time when House budget resolutions are typically brought to the floor — Ryan hopes to have that bill passed in late March.