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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


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