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Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, before I begin, I want to thank Chairman Ryan of the Budget Committee for his tireless work and activity, especially in the area of budget process reform. He understands, as we all do, that the budget process is broken, clearly by the results that we have had or have not had here in Congress over the past number of years. I also want to commend the Budget staff and my staff for the work that they have done on bringing this bill forward and the work they have done on the commonsense kinds of reforms that are necessary in the budget process.

Mr. Chairman, this is a simple and a commonsense piece of legislation.

What we do here has consequences. What we do in Congress has consequences. Some of them are good; some of them are bad.

This amendment, when adopted, will allow us to have more information upon which to make decisions here in Congress. This is especially helpful in the area of economic activity. Economists from across the political spectrum agree that legislation considered by Congress can have significant effects on economic growth, what happens in the real world.

Major legislation, such as the tax reform legislation that is being discussed right now, is likely to have longer-term macroeconomic effects that will increase growth and, as a result, produce increased revenues, reduce spending, or some combination of the two. For example, the Congressional Budget Office's, CBO's, prior macroeconomic work has shown that deficit reduction has positive economic effects. I will quote from one of their reports:

Over the medium term and long term, when economic output is determined by the supply of labor and capital in the productivity of those inputs, the reduction in Federal borrowing that would result from smaller deficits would induce greater national saving and investment and, thereby, increase output and income.

In another report, Congressional Budget Office work concluded that:

Higher marginal tax rates tend to discourage some economic activity.

Now, while the current law that we operate under requires that the Congressional Budget Office provide Congress with information on the fiscal impact--what something costs--of all legislation reported from a committee, there is no systematic requirement for analysis of the economic impact, the realistic effects in the real world out there in the economy. This bill remedies that shortcoming.

This bill would require that the Congressional Budget Office provide a macroeconomic impact analysis for legislation that the CBO--that the Congressional Budget Office--estimates would have a budgetary impact of more than .25 percent of the annual gross domestic product. That is about $43 billion. In addition, the bill would require that the Congressional Budget Office provide a statement of the critical assumptions and sources of data underlying their estimate.

This new macroeconomic impact analysis would not, Mr. Chairman--would not--replace the current work that CBO does, but it would provide more important information. I can't imagine anybody in this House who desires us not to have more information on the pieces of legislation that we are dealing with.

So, again, this is a simple, commonsense, and, I hope, bipartisan bill that we will be talking about and voting on today. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. Chairman, I urge my friend from Maryland to read the bill. Read the bill. This isn't about tax increases or tax decreases specifically.

Page 4, the macroeconomic impact analysis. An estimate of the changes of economic output: employment, interest rates, capital stock, tax revenues, all. In fact, the kinds of things that the gentleman points to in infrastructure or education, if they have an economic impact of greater than .25 percent of the gross domestic product, they would be evaluated and we would get a

report from CBO on that.

I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Utah, Chris Stewart.

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I have to admit, I am puzzled. All this bill does is say that Members of Congress ought to have more information about the decisions that we are making here on behalf of the American people, not less. That is a pretty simple concept in the real world. Only here in Washington do we not want more information. I guess we want to stick our heads in the sand.

The gentleman who just spoke said that this bill's purpose is to trot out and continue to put in place a failed theory.

This bill doesn't do anything about the outcome of the results that CBO would give us under this bill. We don't game the system at all. What we do is want the Congressional Budget Office to give us more information. If the gentleman is correct, then that is the information that we will get. Why would he not want more information?

What else has been said here this morning, Mr. Chairman? We had a scientist take the floor and say that he was against using more information. A scientist.

As a physician, I can tell you that I never met an individual--any of my medical colleagues--who didn't want all of the information that they could get. In fact, that is what happens in the real world. In families and in communities and in businesses, people want as much information as they can so that they can make wise decisions. And that is what this bill would do, give us more information so that hopefully, hopefully Congress would be able to make more wise decisions.

I will tell you, I am puzzled by the gentleman from Maryland who stands up over and over and talks about the benefits of dynamic scoring on a particular piece of legislation that he supports. But then he doesn't want dynamic scoring or a macroeconomic analysis of legislation on anything else, just what he supports. You talk about being duplicitous, Mr. Chairman. I am telling you.

The gentleman from Maryland keeps talking about slower growth in the budget that we are going to be talking about next week, and he always adds ``over the next few years'' because he doesn't want to talk about the outyears, where the growth explodes, and we have that pro-growth economy and getting people back to work and the jobs that are going to be created.

So, Mr. Chairman, this really is pretty doggone simple. Either we want more information or we don't. Republicans in this House at this point want more information. In fact, in the Senate, a piece of legislation that is similar to this--asking for macroeconomic analysis, offered by Senator Portman--was voted on in a bipartisan way. The Senate, in a bipartisan way, supported that amendment.

So I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, to stand up today and say to the American people, yes, we want more information, so that, hopefully, we are able to make more wise decisions. And I urge adoption of the underlying piece of legislation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. Chairman, this truly is a great idea. There is no question that Congress ought to have more information about the legislation that we are going to consider and how it affects State and local governments. Far too often, we in Washington decide that we are smarter than everyone else and choose to impose burdens on those governments that are closer to the people.

Frankly, far too many of us here in Congress simply don't take the principle of federalism seriously. In fact, this is such a great idea that a Republican Congress passed it and a Democratic President signed it into law in 1995. It is called the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act or, more popularly, UMRA. This law requires CBO to analyze every piece of legislation for the burdens that it imposes on State and local governments.

Here is how CBO describes their work under the law:

In 1995, the UMRA was enacted to ensure that the Congress receives information, during the legislative process, about Federal mandates--requirements that would be imposed on State, local, and tribal governments and on entities in the private sector.

So, as with this amendment we are debating, the job is already done; and, as with the next amendment, the job is already done. The issue is already addressed. So I appreciate the gentleman's interest in the issue, but there is simply no need for the amendment, and, consequently, we will have to oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentlelady for offering this amendment and for recognizing the value and importance of economic analysis for legislating here in Congress.

Too often, we hear from the other side of the aisle these taunts about magic asterisks and phony numbers, but your amendment rightly recognizes that legislation can make a difference on the economy.

However, what we can't accept about the amendment is the idea that CBO should try to estimate its effects on only small sections of the country rather than the Nation as a whole.

Instead of dictating every detail of the macroeconomic analysis for CBO, we think that we need to give them the flexibility to adapt their analysis to the specifics of particular legislation. This amendment would unnecessarily limit that flexibility, so we urge its defeat.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. Speaker, I have very good news for my friend from New Hampshire. The underlying bill would include macroeconomic analysis on all of these items: education, infrastructure, employment, growth, and so much more. Therefore, we must oppose the MTR, as it is redundant and unnecessary.

I urge a ``no'' vote, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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