ATR and COGC Urge House to Support CBO Transparency Act
Americans for Tax Reform and the Cost of Government Center sent a letter to the Hill today urging Members of the House of Representatives to support Representative Tim Murphy's Congressional Budget Office Transparency Act:
The Honorable Tim Murphy
322 Cannon Office Building
Dear Representative Murphy,
We write to encourage your colleagues to co-sponsor and otherwise support your Congressional Budget Office Transparency Act, a bill requiring the Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to make all data and other information relating to cost estimates available on its website.
The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires the CBO to submit cost estimates for every billor resolution reported by a Congressional committee. For legislators serious about restoring fiscal responsibility to Washington, these reports provide important information about the true impact of government spending. Yet the underlying data and methodologies used in CBO’s analyses are not readily accessible to lawmakers or their constituents.
With the federal government racking up over $15 trillion in debt, it is vital for lawmakers to carefully consider the costs of every piece of legislation. The CBO Transparency Act would provide immediate access to all the background information and data used to generate CBO’s estimates, shining the light of public scrutiny on the statistical process behind the top-line numbers.
By requiring that all the surrounding information be made readily available online, the CBO Transparency Act will provide lawmakers with a heightened understanding of the costs behind legislative measures and allow taxpayers to better hold their representatives responsible for their spending habits. This kind of openness would prevent the conflation, commonly abused by the punditry, of spending and taxes. The very clear distinction between outlays and revenues would be made all the more evident by increased transparency in CBO’s practices. By derailing attempts by big spenders to portray tax increases as a means to decreases “costs” increased transparency would keep the focus where it should be—on the government’s overspending problem.
By bringing transparency into the CBO’s cost estimate process, this bill would give lawmakers valuable information as they assess the costs of potential legislation. Thus we urge your colleagues to support the CBO Transparency Act and look forward to working with you to further advancing restraint in federal finance.
Americans for Tax Reform
Cost of Government Center
For a PDF of the letter, click here.