The Batshit Caucus Wants to Defund the CBO

Written by SK Ashby

As if funding the federal government beyond the fiscal year deadline which begins on October 1st wasn't already complicated enough, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows wants to complicate it further.

Meadows says the caucus will introduce an amendment that will effectively defund the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and fire nearly 100 of its staff members.

In a speech at the National Press Club on Monday, Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) announced that another member of the hardline conservative group will attempt to shoehorn an amendment into the current federal budget negotiation that would strip the Congressional Budget Office of 15 million dollars in funding and 89 of its staff members. [...]

Meadows plan to “address” the CBO’s inaccuracy would be to bar them from conducting any independent analyses whatsoever. Instead, he suggested, they should simply mix together the studies of various partisan and corporate-funded think tanks.

In the realm of cosmically-bad ideas, this ranks pretty high up here.

Relying on aggregation of think tank scores to tell you how individual pieces of legislation will perform is not a plausible alternate. Think tanks do not produce detailed scores the likes of which the CBO produces, and most think tanks actually rely on CBO scores to serve as a baseline for their own models.

Furthermore, that's far too much variation in models and in some cases even referring to conservative methodology as a "model" may be too generous. I'm remind of the countless numbers of rosy outlooks we've seen from various conservative think tanks who've praised Paul Ryan's budget proposals. I'm reminded of the Heritage Foundation "study" that claimed immigrants are bankrupting social welfare programs and killing jobs. That study was so flawed the co-author resigned.

Now, the current word among congressional reporters is that House Republicans may not have enough votes to pass the so-called "minibus" package of supposedly noncontroversial security funding bills to keep those agencies and departments running beyond October 1st. In theory, the Freedom Caucus amendment for defunding the CBO would be attached to the minibus, but it may be dead already.

House Republicans were planning to pass the "minibus" security funding bill because they lacked the votes to pass an omnibus spending bill to fund the entire government all at once, but they may not have enough votes for either of them.

If they cannot rally enough support among their own caucus to even fund the Pentagon, I'm not sure where that leaves them.

Funding the federal government (including the CBO) beyond the October 1st deadline with a continuing resolution still seems like the most plausible scenario to me.