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The House rejected two amendments to a spending bill late Wednesday night that would have cut funds to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the nonpartisan office in charge of estimating the budgetary effects of legislation.
The Republican and Democratic leaders of both the House Budget Committee and Ways and Means Committee came out against the bills.
“We rely on CBO’s analysts to provide, fair, impartial, and fact-based analysis. Without that analysis, Congress could not do its work or stay within the very budget constraints we set up for ourselves in law,” Ways and Means Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyNunes to resign from Congress, become CEO of Trump media firm Five things to know about the November jobs report Economic growth rate slows to 2 percent as delta derails recovery MORE (R-Texas) and ranking member Richard Neal (D-Mass.) wrote in a “dear colleague” letter opposing the amendments.
The first amendment, offered by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), would have slashed the CBO’s funding by 50.4 percent. That figure, Perry said, was to match the discrepancy between the CBO’s predictions for how many people would gain health insurance under ObamaCare, and the number that actually did.
“Who among us works half the time, gets it doubly wrong and gets a paycheck? The CBO,” Perry said.
Defenders of the CBO have noted that the predictions were made before the Supreme Court struck down parts of the law requiring states to accept Medicaid expansion and that few alternative predictions are consistently more accurate.
“Some Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration are engaged in a steadily escalating campaign to tear down the Congressional Budget Office and anyone else who does not tell them what they want to hear. This amendment is a direct assault, eliminating half of CBO’s budget,” said House Budget Committee ranking member John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthYarmuth slams Massie for gun-filled family Christmas photo Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement at end of term Dems brace for score on massive Biden bill MORE (D-Ky.).
Members of the Trump administration have regularly derided and denounced the CBO, which has projected that its healthcare laws would lead to millions more uninsured, and disputed claims that its budget plan would balance.
The amendment was defeated by a vote of 314 to 107.
The second amendment, offered by Rep. Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithGOP lawmakers press social media giants for data on impacts on children's mental health Lawmakers press federal agencies on scope of SolarWinds attack House Republicans urge Democrats to call hearing with tech CEOs MORE (R-Va.), used a newly revived rule that allows Congress to specifically target certain federal roles for elimination, called the Holman rule. The amendment sought to eliminate 89 CBO employees who work on the scoring.
“Too often, predictions made by CBO turn out to be off the mark,” Griffith said.
House Budget Committee Chairman Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackBottom line Overnight Health Care: Anti-abortion Democrats take heat from party | More states sue Purdue over opioid epidemic | 1 in 4 in poll say high costs led them to skip medical care Lamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee MORE (R-Tenn.) came out against the amendment.
“This amendment is not the best way to accomplish our goal of obtaining better analysis from the CBO,” she said. Instead, she added, she would hold hearings in the budget committee in the autumn over ways to improve CBO’s models.
That amendment was defeated by a vote of 309 to 106.