GOP whip won't commit to new CBO score before vote

GOP whip won't commit to new CBO score before vote
© Greg Nash

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) on Friday declined to commit to having a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the ObamaCare replacement bill before a vote on Thursday. 

Republicans are making significant changes to their legislation in an effort to secure more votes. Those changes could alter the CBO's projections.

“We're working with CBO on all of these [changes], obviously CBO works a lot slower than we'd like, but that's OK, that's their method,” Scalise said. “But we're moving forward with our bill because the American people want relief from ObamaCare.”

Lawmakers are expecting the House Rules Committee to put the finishing touches on the bill on Wednesday, with a floor vote taking place the following day.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this week called on Republican leaders to wait until a CBO analysis is released until voting on the bill. “The American people and Members have a right to see an updated CBO score on the consequences of the final legislation before any vote by the House,” she wrote. 

Rep. Morgan GriffithMorgan GriffithGOP whip won't commit to new CBO score before vote Medicaid work requirements could be added to ObamaCare bill The Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan MORE (R-Va.) on Friday downplayed the importance of having a CBO analysis of the updated bill before the vote. 

“I think all those changes will be positive, so I'm not concerned about that,” Griffith said. “CBO score is a benchmark but it's not the only benchmark, it's not the only thing you look at.”

“They have to deal with a static set of facts, they can't look at human behavior, which is why they missed so many numbers on ObamaCare,” he added. 

Many Republicans, including the White House, have attacked the credibility of the nonpartisan CBO, saying it is often wrong. 

Those attacks grew louder after the CBO on Monday reported that the Republican measure would result in 24 million more people being uninsured by 2026, and that prices would spike for older people. 

“I suspect there's some members on the authorizing committees who right now probably wish they had seen the report prior to the markup,” said Centrist Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.). “If I were on the authorizing committee, I'd be a little disappointed.”

Dent said he wants to see an updated CBO report before the floor vote. 

“I'm going to certainly make that request,” Dent said. “If there's going to be a manager's amendment, and I suspect there will be based on all the comments, we ought to see a score.”