Biden touted CBO as 'gold standard' – now his White House is trying to undermine it

Karl Rove: Build Back Better ‘filled with gimmicks’ as Congress waits for CBO score

The Fox News contributor blasted the legislation on ‘America’s Newsroom,’ arguing it will fuel an ‘expansion of the welfare state.’

President Biden previously touted the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as the “gold standard” – but now his White House is trying to undermine it.

While serving as vice president in the Obama administration, Biden said in an interview with Larry King that the nonpartisan legislative budget scorer is the “gold standard” when it comes to their work.

In fact, the president said that no members of either party call into question the CBO’s reports.

Biden speaks at the COP26 climate summit. 

“I don’t know one single serious econometric model, from the conservative to the liberals, who would acknowledge anything other than we created a minimum of 1.6 million jobs to – and the estimates from the CBO, which is really a, as you know, the gold standard – no Republican or Democratic questions it – that say we created or saved over two million jobs,” Biden said to King in a 2010 interview on jobs and the economy.

The nonpartisan CBO impartially studies the economic impact of legislation proposed to Congress and assigns bills a score.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had taken shots at the previous administration for its treatment of the CBO score.

“Watching Mullaney try to walk away from CBO score and explain budget outline is awkward and uncomfortable to watch,” Psaki tweeted in 2017 in reference to Mick Mulvaney, then director of the Office of Management and Budget.

However, Biden’s confidence in the CBO has been scrutinized after White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said the nonpartisan body did not have the “experience” to weigh in on an aspect of the president’s Build Back Better agenda.

President Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 vaccination program during a White House event in Washington on July 6, 2021.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“The CBO does not have experience analyzing revenue amounts gained from tracking down wealthy tax cheats who are taking advantage of every honest taxpayer,” Bates said at a press gaggle.

“Last night, reporters directly asked key Democratic House members – whose views run the gambit, including moderates, liberals, folks in between,” he continued. “They universally said this was not an issue at all.”

Bates also said the “CBO fiscal data so far lines up” with the White House’s estimates.

Bates told Fox News in a Thursday email that Republicans “frequently blasted and wholly disregarded CBO’s important work” during the Trump administration.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks during a television interview at the Russell Senate Office building in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 11, 2020. 
(Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“And Republicans like Sen. Rick Scott have already been caught red-handed admitting that they are actively rooting for inflation to worsen and hurt more American families,” Bates said. “That, along with their prioritization of tax giveaways for the wealthy above all else, explains their opposition to the Build Back Better Act – an historic and popular bill that would cut many of the biggest costs Americans face, including prescription drugs and child care, while fighting inflation for the long haul.”

“In that vein, if the best the interns who run the RNC’s twitter account can do is desperately twist a respectful comment that’s consistent with what the longtime director of CBO himself said about analyzing a new form of policy, while omitting that in the same answer I was praising CBO’s work on this specific bill overall, we have them on the run even more than I thought,” he continued. “Thanks for making my Thursday!”

Bates also pointed to former CBO director Douglas Elmendorf’s comment to the New York Times saying that there is very little precedent for large cash influxes into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and that projecting the returns on such is hard to do because of that.

Bates also pointed to comments from Democrats and outside experts supporting the White House narrative. 

Phillip Swagel, the director of the CBO, told the New York Times that the IRS enforcement provision in the president’s agenda will miss the economic mark, being projected to raise only $120 billion – well under the administration’s goal.

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