Don’t Gut the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

Letter to the HillDon’t Gut the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

Budget & Tax  | Quick Takes
Jul 26, 2017  | 2 min read

Dear Representative,

Taxpayers for Common Sense strongly urges you to reject two amendments to H.R. 3219 the “Make America Safe Appropriations Act” that would gut parts of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and make taxpayers decidedly less fiscally safe in the future.

The two amendments are:

Amendment #4 (originally #26) by Rep. Perry (R-PA) to cut the CBO budget by $25.436 million.

Amendment #5 (originally #19) by Reps. Griffith (R-VA), Jordan (R-OH), Meadows (R-NC), and Perry (R-PA) to abolish the Budget Analysis Division ($15 million) and transfer their functions to the office of the CBO Director.

The total funding provided for CBO in the underlying legislation is $48.5 million. These amendments would cut that funding by more than 50 percent (Perry) and 30 percent (Griffith) respectively.

Like lawmakers from both parties, Taxpayers has taken issue with CBO budget scores at times and noted estimates that reality proved wrong, but our response has been to try to improve the product through increased transparency in scoring, methodical reviews of past scores to inform future analysis, and more realistic scoring windows to address legislative drafting quirks. We recognize that CBO scores are estimates of budgetary effect and come with a range of expected error.

Congress created the CBO in 1974 because, in part, lawmakers didn’t want to continue to rely on the Office of Management and Budget and the Executive Branch for their budget analysis. CBO has served as an important counterweight provided independent, nonpartisan budget analysis for lawmakers and taxpayers alike.

All lawmakers benefit from an impartial budget referee following an agreed upon set of scoring rules. Taxpayers for Common Sense would urge lawmakers to reject the two amendments to cut Congressional Budget Office funding and instead work together with Taxpayers for Common Sense to improve the reliability and transparency of the scores. For more information contact me or Steve Ellis at steve@taxpayer.net or 202-546-8500.

Sincerely,

Ryan Alexander,

President