CBO Explains Why It Can’t Analyze the Ryan Budget the Way Republicans Want

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Susan Walsh/AP

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it lacks the person-power and economic models to perform its analysis of the pending House Republican budget using the approach requested by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

In an April 3 letter to Ryan, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf laid out several reasons why his agency could not meet Ryan’s request that the budget blueprint that cleared the Budget Committee last week be scored according to the “long-term, macroeconomic analysis” called for in the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act.

The budgeting act bill, introduced by budget panel vice chairman Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., passed the full House on Friday. It would require CBO to broaden its set of tools in analyzing bills with expected budgetary effects greater than 0.25 percent of the currently projected U.S. GDP.

“For a number of reasons, CBO would not be able to perform the analyses envisioned by that set of amendments,” Elmendorf wrote. “We do not have the analytical capabilities or the level of staffing that would be needed to undertake and complete the tasks that would be assigned to us, nor would the usual timetable for considering legislation allow the time that would be required to complete such analyses, even if we did not face those analytical and staffing constraints.”

The director continued, “In some cases, we are not aware of the existence of the data or models that would be required to undertake such analyses. Moreover, building the necessary analytic capacity and applying it under the circumstances envisioned in the set of amendments would require significantly more staff than CBO currently has.”

CBO did offer to discuss the possibility of special analysis of certain issues raised by the Price bill, which is not expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. Republicans who embrace supply-side economics for decades have promoted so-called dynamic scoring as a way to factor in what they view as the stimulating impact of tax cuts in boosting economic growth.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.