The Concord Coalition warned today that the latest attacks on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) threaten to destroy its ability to provide policymakers and the public with nonpartisan, impartial analysis.
After months of denigrating CBO, some members of Congress are now seeking to slash the agency’s funding and eliminate its Budget Analysis Division through amendments to appropriations bills that are soon to be considered by the House of Representatives.
“These attempts to cripple CBO are an assault on objective policymaking,” said Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby. “They suggest a desire to make policy without having to worry about how things add up, a result that would undermine fiscal responsibility.”
The CBO’s projections have served as the closest thing to a common set of facts for policy debates in Congress and among the American public. Without CBO’s work as the agreed-upon non-partisan source of budgetary projections, policymakers would be encouraged to “shop around” for the most favorable score on their proposals. That would only increase the highly partisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill and undermine serious analysis.
There should only be one official scorekeeper — and CBO is it. The independence and credibility of CBO should be considered beyond reproach so it can continue to serve its vital role as the impartial arbiter of public policy debates.