- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Conservatives failed in their bid Wednesday to punish the Congressional Budget Office for its grim evaluations of GOP health care proposals, with the House rejecting two different efforts to strip funding from the nonpartisan agency.

Both Democratic and Republican leaders had opposed the efforts to spank the CBO, saying that Congress needs an independent auditor to evaluate spending, no matter how far off the estimates may turn out to be.

Conservatives were upset earlier this year after the CBO projected that the GOP’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill would leave some 23 million fewer Americans with health coverage in a decade.

Republican leaders said the budget analysts’ models were faulty, and pointed to a series of previous estimates where the CBO had botched things.

Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican and chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said the CBO bungled past farm bill estimates by more than $100 billion.

Rep. Morgan Griffith, Virginia Republican, said just two years ago the CBO projected that selling off broadband spectrum wouldn’t net the government any money. In fact, he said, it netted $40 billion.

“Time after time after time they’ve gotten things wrong,” he said, pushing his amendment to zero out the CBO’s budget analysis unit, axing 89 employees.

Opponents said shooting conservatives were punishing the bearers of bad news, rather than working within the rules.

“Just because your’e losing the game does not mean you can fire the ref,” said Rep. Don Beyer, Virginia Democrat.

Mr. Griffith’s proposal failed on a 309-116 vote, while another CBO-cutting proposal failed 314-107.

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