We are deeply troubled by two attempts to gut the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) through amendments to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act in the House of Representatives, which appears to be in retaliation for recent analysis the office produced.
The CBO is a nonpartisan office that employs independent experts to impartially analyze legislation in Congress. The efforts to gut the office through the use of the Holman Rule or to shutter it completely and shift its responsibilities to think tanks who receive funds from entities with a vested interest in analysis are an attack on Congressional capacity for independent analysis.
POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian issued the following statement:
This is a classic case of shooting the messenger. Getting rid of the CBO would send a chilling message to all other independent offices, such as the Congressional Research Service or the Government Accountability Office, to tell Congress what it wants to hear or risk being closed. If there are legitimate concerns over the operation of the CBO, the solution is reform not decimation.
Empowering think tanks funded by parties including corporations, universities, federal agencies, and foreign governments that have an interest in the evaluation of particular pieces of legislation to fill the role of this impartial, nonpartisan office would be a huge blow to Congressional capacity and spending accountability.
In June, POGO joined groups across the political spectrum in asking the CBO to increase transparency.