CBO touts its projections

CBO touts its projections
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The Congressional Budget Office, which has become a political punching bag for Republicans in recent years because of its scores for tax and health-care legislation, was more accurate than average in its projections on 2017 spending.

The CBO’s March 2016 budgetary projections for the 2017 fiscal year were off by 1.6 percent, lower than the 2.3 percent average of its projections between fiscal years 1993 and 2016. 

The CBO overestimated spending by about $56 billion with its $4.1 trillion spending projection for the 2017 fiscal year.

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The CBO's director hailed the findings in a statement.

“Enhancing transparency at CBO is one of my top priorities, which I underscored in testimony this year before the House and Senate Budget Committees. Today’s report represents just the latest step that CBO has taken to be more transparent about the accuracy of its projections,” CBO Director Keith Hall said in the statement.

Congressional Republicans took shots at CBO for its accuracy when it projected that their health-care plans would reduce coverage for millions, and that the GOP tax plan would inflate the deficit.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign MORE (R-Wis.) called its coverage losses estimate a “bogus number,” while senior White House advisers took to the op-ed pages of The Washington Post to call CBO estimates “fake news.”

Every former CBO director banded together to write a letter to congressional leadership defending the office.

They expressed “strong objection to recent attacks on the integrity and professionalism of the agency and on the agency’s role in the legislative process.” 

For its latest analysis, the CBO separated out the effects of legislation passed after the CBO's original projections.

The lion’s share of the error came from the cost of net interest payments, which CBO overestimated by $43 billion. 

Outside of that, CBO overestimated mandatory spending by $29 billion and income security programs by $10 billion.

On the discretionary side, CBO overestimated defense spending by $10 million and non-defense spending for $16 billion.

But CBO also underestimated the cost of credit subsidies on the cost of federal loans by $49 billion, countering some of its overestimates elsewhere.

Outside of those, CBO overestimated mandatory spending by $29 billion and income security programs by $10 billion.

On the discretionary side, CBO overestimated defense spending by $10 million and non-defense spending for $16 billion.