Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Is the CBO not giving the Democrats the numbers they want?

Hmmm. Are the Democrats having trouble getting the score they want from the CBO? They want to cut out the taxes on the so-called Cadillac plans that the Senate put in and which angered their union overlords. They want to expand the Cornhusker kickback to all the states by giving them all similar Medicaid help. So they have higher costs, but no inclination to impose any taxes except those that fall on the wealthiest but that won't be enough to pay for all their desires. But they have to reduce the cost of the Senate bill in order to use reconciliation. And there are still all those supposed Blue Dogs who claim that they are concerned about spending.

Philip Klein quotes from behind CQ's firewall on hints that the CBO didn't come back with the numbers that the House Democrats wanted to see and that is part of the delay we're seeing now.

House Democratic leaders are still struggling to produce a final health care overhaul bill at an acceptable official cost estimate, but Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday they continue to plan a final vote this week. House leaders were to huddle late Tuesday afternoon, following a noon session of the full Democratic Caucus. There were reports they are having trouble drafting a bill that meets their budgetary targets….

Rank-and-file Democrats did not talk about the details, but said that the CBO scores had come up short. “They were less than expected” in terms of deficit reduction, said Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, who plans to vote for the bill.
If they want to make the artificial deadline of Obama's trip to vote by Saturday and to keep their promise of posting the bill 72 hours ahead of time, they need to get their bill done and the CBO score out today. Of course, they could ignore that 72 hours as they have done in the past, but on top of all their other ugly legislative dealings, it would be even more outrageous to do the final ram through without people reading the bill. Doing that on the stimulus was one thing. That was not a huge program that was going to permanently remake the economy and affect every business and every American. Do they really want to have people talking even more about the shady process that they used?

With all the tricks that they've used in the past to get favorable CBO scores such as postponing the benefits for five or six years and making assumptions about economic growth, if they still can't get a good report from the CBO, it must really be atrocious.