The former heads of the Congressional Budget Office wrote lawmakers Friday and implored them to stop bad-mouthing the agency over its estimates of Republicans’ proposals to change the Affordable Care Act.
“We write to express our strong objection to recent attacks on the integrity and professionalism of the agency and on the agency’s role in the legislative process,” wrote the eight former CBO chiefs, who represent every head of the nonpartisan agency since its creation in 1975.
(Related: Nonpartisan Scorekeeper in Hot Seat in GOP’s ACA De-Funding Fight)
The CBO is usually a low-profile agency in the national discourse, better known among policy wonks than partisans. Its role is to estimate the cost of legislation, along with other economic and social impacts. While both parties have criticized the agency in the past, the CBO has found itself freshly in the political crosshairs of the White House and GOP leaders after repeatedly estimating that Republican health bills would result in tens of millions of people losing insurance.
“Such analysis does generate estimates that are more accurate, on average, than estimates or guesses by people who are not objective and not as well informed as CBO’s analysts,” they wrote.
On Friday, two conservative members of the House of Representatives penned an anti-CBO op-ed, saying its track record “leaves much to be desired.” Earlier this month, the White House made a video bashing the CBO that gained viral attention not as much for its message as its initial misspelling of the word “inaccurately.”
And Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price called the agency “wrong again,” after a May estimate of one of the Republican proposals. Since then, he’s criticized the agency on Twitter.