- Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Mick Mulvaney would like to have a word with the Congressional Budget Office.
The director of the Office of Management and Budget for the Trump administration called the CBO’s devastating score of the GOP healthcare bill “absurd” during an interview with the Washington Examiner on Wednesday and suggested the time of the CBO as a nonpartisan analyzer of legislation may be over.
“The days of relying on some nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to do that work for us has probably come and gone,” Mulvaney told the Examiner.
Mulvaney said that some of the CBO’s projections for the American Health Care Act, such as the forecast that 23 million more people will not have insurance in 2026 than under the current system, are “absurd.”
The OMB director also attacked Holly Harvey, the head of health analysis for the CBO since 2009 who previously worked for the Clinton administration, and suggested that the CBO has a bias in favor of the Affordable Care Act.
“If the same person is doing the score of undoing Obamacare who did the scoring of Obamacare in the first place, my guess is that there is probably some sort of bias in favor of a government mandate,” Mulvaney told the Examiner.
Of note, the current head of the CBO, Keith Hall, is an economist who worked under George W. Bush, has been critical of the Affordable Care Act, was selected by a Republican-controlled Congress, and was approved by a committee headed by current Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.
Price, who also attacked the CBO after the score, praised Hall’s selection in 2015.
“His vast understanding of economic and labor market policy will be invaluable to the work of CBO and the important roll [sic] it will continue to play as Congress seeks to enact policies that support a healthy and growing economy,” Price said at the time.
This is another example of a bifurcated response to the CBO score from House GOP leaders and the Trump administration. House Speaker Paul Ryan called the CBO score “encouraging” after its release last week and said it was a positive endorsement of the bill in a subsequent press conference.
On the other hand, HHS Secretary Price attacked the CBO immediately after the release of the score.
“The CBO was wrong when they analyzed Obamacare’s effect on cost and coverage, and they are wrong again,” said a statement from Price on May 24.