Congressional Budget Office

Senate parliamentarian sends Dems bad news, leadership schemes for special rule to pass ObamaCare

House and Senate Democrats got some bad news today as the Senate parliamentarian said that the House would have to pass the Senate version of ObamaCare and have it signed into law by the president before a fix could be pushed through via reconciliation:

The Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that President Barack Obama must sign Congress’ original health care reform bill before the Senate can act on a companion reconciliation package, senior GOP sources said Thursday.

The Senate Parliamentarian’s Office was responding to questions posed by the Republican leadership. The answers were provided verbally, sources said.

House Democratic leaders have been searching for a way to ensure that any move they make to approve the Senate-passed $871 billion health care reform bill is followed by Senate action on a reconciliation package of adjustments to the original bill. One idea is to have the House and Senate act on reconciliation prior to House action on the Senate’s original health care bill.

Despite the parliamentarian’s ruling, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t seem to have any concern about pressing ahead with reconciliation.

Chart of the Day: CBO v. White House on budget deficits

Veronique de Rugy shows estimated budget deficits from Congressional Budget Office, which shows a $9.8 trillion shortfall over the next ten years, compared to White House projections.

CBO v. White House

Head of CBO: We’re screwed (well, he didn’t actually say that, but that’s what he means)

Doug Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office, is warning that lawmakers must change course on fiscal policy:

In a presentation delivered before the National Association for Business Economics, Mr. Elmendorf noted that the choices needed to address the medium and long-term budget deficit will be “larger and more fundamental” than in the past.

“U.S. fiscal policy is on an unsustainable path that can’t be resolved through minor tinkering,” he said. “The problem posed by the federal budget deficit not at its current level but on this trajectory… poses a growing risk to the recovery.”
In addition, the debt held by the public with current tax policies extended would soar to 90% of GDP by 2020, Mr. Elmendorf said, making the U.S. public debt load one of the world’s highest.

“The U.S. is entering unfamiliar territory in its level of public debt,” said Mr. Elmendorf. “It will be larger over the next decade than it’s been in half a century… and also unfamiliar by the standards of other developed countries.” The choice is not whether to change course from current policy, he noted, but “how quickly and in what way.” President Barack Obama has already declared a spending freeze on discretionary, nonessential outlays, but that only amounts to roughly 17% of total spending. Much of the rest of federal spending is for entitlement programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, defense spending and interest payments on the federal debt.

The size of U.S. entitlement programs has grown sharply since 1970, from 3.8% of GDP to 8.2% as of 2007, and is expected to hit 11.1% of GDP by 2020 thanks to an aging population of Baby Boomers and fewer workers in the system to help pay for their benefits.

CBO: Obama’s Budgets Will Add $ 9.8 Trillion To National Debt Over Ten Years

The Congressional Budget Office is out with it’s latest analysis of President Obama’s budget, and the news isn’t good at all:

President Obama’s policies would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, congressional budget analysts said Friday, including more than $2 trillion that Obama proposes to devote to extending a variety of tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration.

The 10-year outlook by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is somewhat gloomier than White House projections, which found that Obama’s policies would add $8.5 trillion to the debt by 2020. While the two agencies are in relative agreement about the short-term budget picture, with both predicting a deficit of about $1.5 trillion this year and $1.3 trillion in 2011, the CBO is less optimistic about future years, predicting that deficits will grow rapidly after 2015

Under these projections, the National Debt would exceed $ 20,000,000,000,000 by 2020.

Here’s a chart to make the matter even more clear:


Chart of the Day: Red ink as far as the eye can see

From the Heritage Foundation, here is a look at projected budget deficits over the next ten years. Interestingly, the Obama Administration over shoots projects from the baseline set by the Congressional Budget Office, which almost always a generous estimate.

budget deficits

CBO: Cost of stimulus rises $75 billion to $862 billion

According to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows the stimulus bill passed by Congress will now cost $75 billion more (from $787 billion to $862 billion) than taxpayers were originally told by the Obama Administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress.

Here is the story from CNN:

CBO already backing away from ObamaCare deficit estimates

I noted yesterday that the budget reductions in the Congressional Budget Office’s latest score of ObamaCare were, according to their own report, “subject to substantial uncertainty.” It seems that the CBO is already backing away from their estimates:

The Congressional Budget Office said Sunday that the Senate health care bill would not reduce long-term federal deficits as much as previously estimated, acknowledging that it made an “error” in its original analysis.

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that while the correction has no bearing on estimates for the impact of the bill over the next decade, it does slightly reduce the amount of money the plan is expected to save for the 2020-2029 period.

The original estimate said the health care overhaul would yield deficit reductions worth about one-half percent of GDP — the revision put that figure between one-quarter and one-half percent.

He also wrote that savings from Medicare cuts and changes would add up to about 10 to 15 percent per year in that period, compared with the 15 percent savings in the original projection.

Elmendorf said the legislation should still reduce budget deficits after 2019 — but just not as much.

Medicare cuts will never happen. Write it down now. When it comes to reducing entitlement spending, Congress almost never acts. There will be no reductions in deficits from this bill.

CBO: Budget deficit reduction from ObamaCare “subject to substantial uncertainty”

Once again the Congressional Budget Office is out with a new score for ObamaCare that supposedly shows a cost of $871 and a reduction in deficits of $132 billion dollars over the first ten years of the legislation. That’s what the media is reporting as fact, and while it’s true that the CBO score does say that, the media fails to point out the language that I often point to when estimates for ObamaCare are released.

Here is what the CBO score really says about the budgetary impact of ObamaCare, emphasis mine:

According to CBO and JCT’s assessment, enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with the manager’s amendment would result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $132 billion over the 2010–2019 period (see Table 1). In the subsequent decade, the collective effect of its provisions would probably be continued reductions in federal budget deficits if all of the provisions continued to be fully implemented. Those estimates are subject to substantial uncertainty.

And as I often point out, this reduction in federal budget, which even the CBO notes is uncertain, is nothing compared to the $9 trillion increase in federal budget deficits over the same period of time.

Jeffrey Anderson at the Weekly Standard disputes the real first ten year costs because key provisions of the legislation do not kick for five years:

CBO: Premiums will increase up to 13% under ObamaCare

The Congressional Budget Office is out with some numbers today that shows that ObamaCare would cause premiums to increase for anyone buying their own insurance policy or through a government sponsored “exchange”:

The report, prepared at the request of Sen. Evan Bayh, found that those obtaining insurance on their own or through the government-run exchanges could expect to pay 10 percent to 13 percent more for insurance in 2016 than they would under current law. In dollar terms, in 2016 an individual policy would cost $5,800 and a family policy would cost $15,200 if the Senate bill were enacted, according to the CBO, compared with $5,500 and $13,100 under the status quo.

Of course, taxpayers will be subsidizing at least half of these individuals.

Group plans for small business, according to the CBO, could increase by as much as one percent or fall by as much as two percent. For larger groups, premiums would either stay the same or decrease by three percent.

CBO put its usual disclaimer down on the estimates. This is probably a good time to remind you of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which operates under the Department of Health and Human Services, report that showed higher health care costs under ObamaCare than the status quo.

Let’s fix the system, but in ways that will actually reduce costs and open up competition without putting taxpayers at risk.

About that latest CBO report on ObamaCare

On news of the score from the CBO on the Senate version of ObamaCare I wrote:

As I’ve noted in posts on previous scores, the CBO always adds that each score is “subject to substantial uncertainty” because these estimates are almost always inaccurate.

This morning, thanks to Jamie Dupree, I got a chance to read the CBO’s letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and there it was on page 2 (emphasis mine):

According to CBO and JCT’s assessment, enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $130 billion over the 2010–2019 period). In the subsequent decade, the collective effect of its provisions would probably be small reductions in federal budget deficits if all of the provisions continued to be fully implemented. Those estimates are subject to substantial uncertainty.

Not only that, but this isn’t even a score of the bill, which is what we were all told yesterday. The letter says that the CBO “has not completed an estimate of all of the legislation’s potential impact on spending that would be subject to future appropriation action.”

While we’re being told that the cost is $849 billion, it’s simply not true for two reasons. The first is because, as already noted, the CBO has not fully measured the impact on the budget.

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