- - Thursday, February 2, 2012

HOUSE

Lawmakers say budget needs ‘dynamic scoring’

The House on Thursday voted to take a “dynamic scoring” approach to assessing how legislation affects the economy, a budgetary method that Republicans say will help lawmakers make good decisions but Democrats say is a gimmick aimed at justifying tax cuts.

The bill would direct the Congressional Budget Office to draw up estimates of how major legislation would impact such economic factors as gross domestic product, business investment and employment. The analysis would be in addition to the CBO’s traditional estimates of the costs of legislation.

Under the measure, the CBO analysis must include an estimate of the legislation’s potential fiscal impact, including how economic changes influence tax revenues.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican, said that by providing lawmakers with more information, “this bill will also encourage pro-growth policy ideas from all of our colleagues that will help get our economy back on track.”

But Democrats said “dynamic scoring” was simply a means for Republicans to understate the negative impact of tax cuts. Republicans have long argued that tax cuts ultimately stimulate economic growth.

Democrats also said the bill was written so as to exclude some assessments of how investments in such area as infrastructure impact the economy, and would not include an analysis of the effect of continuing President George W. Bush’s tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

The bill passed 242-179, but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

MASSACHUSETTS

In Senate race, GOP’s Brown embraces Obama

BOSTON — In 2010, Republican Scott Brown vowed to be the “41st” vote against President Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul.

Two years later, the Massachusetts senator still opposes what he calls “Obamacare” but has found a lot more to love about the Democratic president.

While many Republican lawmakers are using Mr. Obama as a campaign foil, Mr. Brown is touting his bipartisanship as he hopes to fend off a challenge from chief Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren.

Mr. Brown has backed key Democratic initiatives and praised Mr. Obama’s decision to bypass the Senate and appoint Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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