Last month, OMB chief Mick Mulvaney was griping about the CBO. This seemed kind of pointless, since the CBO exists and it obviously isn’t going anywhere in the short term. So why bother? My guess was that Mulvaney was just preparing the ground for a flank attack on the CBO’s tendency to produce inconvenient estimates:
It turns out that the Senate Budget Committee isn’t actually required to use CBO estimates. They always have in the past, but that’s a custom, not a rule. They have the authority to make their own estimates, and all it takes to make them stick is a majority vote in the committee.
Mulvaney is basically trying to start up a campaign to put some spine into the SBC’s Republican members to ignore the CBO and simply score the tax bill using a model that will pronounce it deficit-neutral. That’s what this is all about.
As happens so often, I was a little too timid. This was the point of Mulvaney’s public complaints, but Republicans aren’t waiting for the tax bill to make up their own scores. It looks like they plan to do it right now:
John Thune says the Cruz amendment might not get a CBO score before the motion to proceed vote. Might just ask HHS to give their own score.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) July 13, 2017
And there you have it. Just ask some friends at HHS to make up a score, have the committee chair bless it, and off we go.
Is the score anywhere close to reality? Maybe. Maybe not. Does it really matter anyway? In the long run, the heat death of the universe will get us all one way or another.