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Murphy Bill Brings CBO's Operations Into the Light

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18) today released the following announcement on the introduction of his Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Transparency Act. The bill, endorsed by Americans for Tax Reform, requires the CBO to publicly release all information and data used to score legislation.

"With our national debt set to exceed $15.7 trillion, immediate action must be taken to reduce our deficit, cut spending, and increase transparency and accountability in government programs. Massive spending bills -- like the President's trillion-dollar healthcare program -- can be misrepresented, allowing political spin to frame budget-busting bills as ones that will save taxpayers money. The time has come to shine the light on the economic data provided to Congress. Releasing the documentation and analysis accompanying a bill score will help Congress produce better legislation, keep lawmakers accountable for government spending, and burnish the credibility of CBO's reports."

Grover Norquist, Founder and President of Americans for Tax Reform also offered praise for Murphy's bill:

"Congressman Tim Murphy's CBO Transparency Act is step one in reforming Washington's broken budget process," said Norquist. "It will be the model for similar reforms throughout the federal government and all 50 states."

About the CBO And The CBO Transparency Act:

The Congressional Budget Office was established as a result of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to provide objective analyses of budgetary and economic issues for the United States Congress. In addition to providing budgetary analysis and economic forecasts, the CBO "is required by law to produce a cost estimate--or "score"--for every bill that is reported by a full committee of either House of Congress.

Rep. Murphy's CBO Transparency Act bill brings fair and open government to the CBO and gives lawmakers and the public an opportunity to review the CBO's work -- a crucial component of legislating. With a mandate to determine legislative impact on the federal budget, CBO wields tremendous authority. A favorable or budget-neutral score makes the difference for a bill's success or failure as Members of Congress and the public place great weight on the CBO score. Like any scientific study or data-driven process, opening up the details of CBO's analyses and data for greater inspection and peer review will allow lawmakers and the public to better understand how scoring decisions are made.

Scrutinizing CBO Scores:

The CBO predicted the President's healthcare law would reduce deficits by $143 billion, and claimed that between three and nine million individuals would lose their employer-sponsored coverage. But respected business consulting groups like McKinsey have suggested the number of workers losing their employer coverage could be as high as 80 to 100 million. Numerous independent analysts have also said the bill will add billions to the deficit.

The CBO forecasted in 2009 that the economy would grow by 4.1 percent if Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In reality, the CBO overestimated fourth quarter 2010 stimulus growth by 44 percent and fourth quarter 2011 stimulus-fueled growth by 27 percent. The CBO claimed that the stimulus "created" 3.3 million jobs, yet the U.S. economy has lost 473,000 jobs since President Obama took office and more than 23.4 million Americans are unemployed or "underemployed."

Other major forecasting miscalculations according to research done at the University of Chicago include entitlement legislation from the 1980s when CBO underestimated savings from changes to Medicare hospital payments by $18 billion. And more recently, total savings from Medicare Part D were undervalued by 40 percent.

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