Republicans Getting Ready to Jettison CBO

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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:

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.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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