Two Spending Bill Amendments To Cut CBO Budget Fail In House

Charles Dharapak/AP

The House voted down two spending bill amendments Wednesday night that would have cut $15 million and 89 staff from the Congressional Budget Office, following bipartisan opposition to the proposals.

The amendments were offered by Rep. Scotty Perry (R-PA) and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and was also championed by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who said Monday that the CBO is unreliable.

Those in support of the amendments floated the idea of the CBO being “aggregators” and suggesting Congress should consider budget scores from think tanks like Heritage, AEI and Brookings.

But after the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Ways and Means Committee came out in support of the CBO, the amendments tanked— the budget cuts were defeated 314 to 107 and the staff cuts failed 309 to 106, according to the House Office of the Clerk.

In a letter to House colleagues, both Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) asked for opposition to the amendments, saying the CBO “plays a vital role in the legislative process.”

“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,” the letter said. “CBO, which works only for Congress, is key to maintaining our status as an equal branch of government.”

The pair said cutting funds to the office would harm the House’s ability to do work and “would impair the institution’s ability to function within the rules that the Congress itself passed with respect to the budget impact of legislation.”

The proposed amendments were just the latest in a string of attacks against the non-partisan office, a movement that recently pushed every past CBO director, Republican and Democratic, to write a letter to Congress urging them to end the rhetoric.

H/t: The Hill

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Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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