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Yarmuth Opening Statement at Final CBO Oversight Hearing

Mar 14, 2018

Washington, D.C. – Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, gave the following opening statement at today’s hearing on CBO oversight with outside experts. Remarks as prepared are below:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming our esteemed witnesses today, former CBO Directors Dr. Alice Rivlin and Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin.

You have both played a key role in implementing the mission Congress set for CBO, to be our independent, non-partisan source of information and analysis.

The truth is, Congress simply could not function effectively without CBO’s budget estimates and analysis. We make decisions that impact our entire economy and every family in America, and those decisions must be informed by sound data and evidence.

We created CBO so we were not forced to rely on analysis from the Executive Branch or outside organizations, which reflected their own political agenda. We still need CBO to be that unbiased scorekeeper.

CBO does not make recommendations. They do not take into account politics or ideology. They deal in numbers and analysis only.  The only agenda they have is maintaining their independent, respected voice. And I appreciate the hard work of both of our witnesses in fulfilling that mission during their tenures as CBO Directors.

I am also looking forward to the testimony of our second panelists: Maya MacGuineas and Sandy Davis, who will provide a viewpoint on CBO from outside the agency. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has a longstanding reputation for budgetary analysis and opinion.

And I’m pleased to extend a “welcome back” of sorts to Mr. Davis, a former long-time CBO staffer. Sandy has a rare vantage point as an “outside” expert, having spent years on the inside.  He is in the perfect position to discuss how seriously CBO staff take their responsibility to produce nonpartisan analysis and how they view the role of the institution they serve.

Again, I thank our witnesses for coming and I look forward to their testimony.