GOP bill calls for CBO to disclose budgetary models

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Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah introduced a bill last week that would require the Congressional Budget Office to publish the methodology used to create its cost analyses and scoring.

Dubbed the "CBO Show Your Work Act of 2017," the bill has 14 co-sponsors, all of whom are Republican.

"Congress does need a scorekeeper to provide budgetary estimates for the policy changes it considers," Sen. Lee said in a statement. "But at a bare minimum, that scorekeeper should be forced to show how its models work. Currently the CBO doesn't have to do that."

The CBO Show Your Work Act is the latest in a barrage of Republican criticisms of the agency after it issued several unfavorable scores of GOP healthcare plans. The White House has published blogs and fact-checking videos denouncing CBO estimates, and two White House staffers wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in July calling the scoring methodology "fundamentally flawed."

However, the CBO continues to defend its methods. In July, all eight former directors of the CBO wrote a letter to the leaders of Congress object to attacks on the integrity of the agency's projections and transparency efforts. The CBO releases descriptions of its techniques and record, and it regularly consults outside experts from both sides of the aisle when creating its scores, according to the former directors. "[R]elying on CBO's estimates in the legislative process has served the Congress  —  and the American people  —  very well during the past four decades," the former directors wrote.


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