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senate Bill S. 1746

Should the Congressional Budget Office Have to Show its Work by Making Data & Models Public?

Argument in favor

Congress needs a scorekeeper like the CBO, but there’s no reason for it to keep its fiscal and economic models a secret. The public deserves to know how the models they pay for work.

KansasTamale's Opinion
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09/17/2017
The Legislators are OUR EMPLOYEES. WOULD YOUR BOSS ALLOW YOU TO DO ANYTHING WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT IT WAS??? Of course NOT. Congress & the Senate must keep the public, THEIR BOSSES, apprized of on what they are spending, OUR MONEY,
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DrRichSwier's Opinion
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09/17/2017
The Congressional Budget Office must be fully transparent and held accountable by the taxpayers. It's vital that Americans see how legislation is scored by the CBO. This way others can then score the CBO for accurate information.
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Daniel's Opinion
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09/17/2017
Congress wants to make all other industries accountable with proof. I.e. Linking teacher pay to test scores. Congresspeople should be held to the same type of standards they put on others.
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Argument opposed

The CBO should continue to keep its fiscal and policy models a secret so that they’re not subject to politically motivated criticism. The public doesn’t need to know how the models work.

John's Opinion
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09/17/2017
On the surface, it seems like a decent enough idea, and transparency is certainly important. But as I look at recent CBO estimates showing that nearly every republican backed major economic legislation would be a disaster, I can't help but think that the main purpose of this bill is to provide opportunities to push destructive trickle down policies, then attack those who point out the flaws, counting on a public with limited knowledge of economics to simply believe their party's line. If congress wasn't currently trying to destroy healthcare whilst simultaneously wrecking the economy, I might support this. As it is, I imagine that passing this legislation is merely part of a plan that America cannot afford.
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Andy1's Opinion
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09/17/2017
Not opposed in theory, but how I see it working in practice is 99% of the public won't look at the source data. Instead they're hear the facts after they've been twisted and selectively edited by partisan groups like the heritage foundation to suit their own agenda. This bill will likely end up obscuring the truth even more
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Thelma's Opinion
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09/17/2017
This bill makes no sense to me. On the one hand, Republicans are asking for more transparency, yet they are trying to pass healthcare law in the dead of night and with great secrecy. Furthermore, it's my understanding that CBO methodology is not hard to find if you look for it. I sense something inappropriate at work here. I'd like to see republicans openly debate bills before a vote with democrats first, please. That's the kind of transparency we should be seeing.
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What is Senate Bill S. 1746?

This bill — known as the CBO Show Your Work Act — would require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to make fiscal models, policy models, and data preparation routines that it uses in estimating the costs and other fiscal, social, or economic effects of legislation publicly available in a manner that allows them to be replicated. For any data that the CBO can’t release, it would be required to provide a list of all data variables, descriptive statistics for those variables (to the extent it can be disclosed), and contact information for whomever has unrestricted access.

This bill’s requirements would take effect six months after the bill’s enactment.

Impact

The public; and the CBO.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1746

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced this bill to make the CBO more transparent and accountable by requiring the public release of the CBO’s fiscal and data models so that they can be replicated:

“Congress does need a scorekeeper to provide budgetary estimates for the policy changes it considers. But at a bare minimum, that scorekeeper should be forced to show how its models work. Currently the CBO doesn’t have to do that… This bill would require the CBO to publish its data, models, and all details of computation used in its cost analysis and scoring. CBO would keep its role as official scorekeeper of congressional budget proposals -- but now the American people and the economic community would be able to see what’s going on in all those spreadsheets and algorithms.”

This legislation has the support of 14 cosponsors, all of whom are Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: CBO / Public Domain)

AKA

CBO Show Your Work Act

Official Title

A bill to require the Congressional Budget Office to make publicly available the fiscal and mathematical models, data, and other details of computations used in cost analysis and scoring.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Budget
    IntroducedAugust 3rd, 2017
    The Legislators are OUR EMPLOYEES. WOULD YOUR BOSS ALLOW YOU TO DO ANYTHING WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT IT WAS??? Of course NOT. Congress & the Senate must keep the public, THEIR BOSSES, apprized of on what they are spending, OUR MONEY,
    Like (133)
    Follow
    Share
    On the surface, it seems like a decent enough idea, and transparency is certainly important. But as I look at recent CBO estimates showing that nearly every republican backed major economic legislation would be a disaster, I can't help but think that the main purpose of this bill is to provide opportunities to push destructive trickle down policies, then attack those who point out the flaws, counting on a public with limited knowledge of economics to simply believe their party's line. If congress wasn't currently trying to destroy healthcare whilst simultaneously wrecking the economy, I might support this. As it is, I imagine that passing this legislation is merely part of a plan that America cannot afford.
    Like (148)
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    Sadly I can't help but think that since this bill has been introduced by a Republican that they are thinking it could be a way of controlling what is supposed to be a non-partisan organization. While I am for as much transparency as possible for now I say leave the CBO as is for now.
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    The Congressional Budget Office must be fully transparent and held accountable by the taxpayers. It's vital that Americans see how legislation is scored by the CBO. This way others can then score the CBO for accurate information.
    Like (32)
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    Not opposed in theory, but how I see it working in practice is 99% of the public won't look at the source data. Instead they're hear the facts after they've been twisted and selectively edited by partisan groups like the heritage foundation to suit their own agenda. This bill will likely end up obscuring the truth even more
    Like (29)
    Follow
    Share
    Congress wants to make all other industries accountable with proof. I.e. Linking teacher pay to test scores. Congresspeople should be held to the same type of standards they put on others.
    Like (19)
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    This bill makes no sense to me. On the one hand, Republicans are asking for more transparency, yet they are trying to pass healthcare law in the dead of night and with great secrecy. Furthermore, it's my understanding that CBO methodology is not hard to find if you look for it. I sense something inappropriate at work here. I'd like to see republicans openly debate bills before a vote with democrats first, please. That's the kind of transparency we should be seeing.
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    For one thing, the general population who struggle at math and accounting would have trouble understanding all the number, how they were put together, and finalized. Secondly, whether the Republican or Democratic Party were in power, everything would always be partisan budgets, so those who say this is another attempt for Republicans to force legislation through Congress or find ways to warp the budget, I'm sorry but Democrats have been doing it for a very long time too. This idea is great in theory, but put to practice would be nothing more than a formality. Even the independent panels that watch budgets are not even trusted, so how are we to trust a partisan budget?
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    I'd much rather the congressional staff members be required to make all their analyses public. After all, most people enjoy a good magic trick now and then.
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    This bill is supported only by republicans. In my opinion there is something more nefarious occurring.
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    Maybe the way Congress operates and does "behind the door deal making" should be more transparent first. Does anyone else find it unsettling the "repeal and replace" is being discussed again and we don't know what it includes?
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    No. This bill is just a retaliation at the CBO since their estimates have tanked several high profile *republican* congressional bills. Don’t believe me? See who the sponsor is. (Hint: it’s a republican.)
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    Why on earth would greater transparency be a bad thing? If your only objection is some variant of "I would support this except I don't trust Republicans" then I invite you to grow up and operate by principles rather than childish party politics. Increasing government transparency is a good thing. By all means be skeptical, but if your skepticism doesn't produce anything other than "I predetermined that I just wouldn't ever trust that party under any circumstances," and you decide that that is reason enough not to support the position, then you're exactly the type of fool whose civic responsibility is NOT to participate in democracy. Come back when you're mature enough to support and oppose issues based on principles rather than what letter is after a sponsor's name. Your blind, uncritical, unnuanced party favoritism is a detriment to society, so leave it out of the public conversation.
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    Absolutely all transparency is good.
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    Yes, Transparency. Allow comments from other professionals to weigh in or offer suggestions for corrections or improvements in data for more accuracy.
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    I say NAY because I believe this is a politically motivated bill by the Repubs because they can't get trumpcare through due to the cost. I normally want transparency, but this bill has been created, IMHO, to hurt the public, not help them. Sadly, many of his supporters are going to think he is doing something wonderful.
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    Like when unemployment rate was dropping under Obama and Fox News spun it to seem like we were in crisis. You can bend data how you see fit. Get me bi-partison cosponsors and I could reconsider.
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    We should be able to see and if necessary critique the CBO
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    Why do the Republicans all of a sudden want more transparency from the CBO only after the CBO SHREDDED the Republican Healthcare Bill, which was one of their most SECRETIVE BILLS of late!!!! So then after they tried and failed to pass their Un-Health Un-Care Bill in the dead of night, with no input from the Democrats and even very little input from their own party, so then why do they want 99% Transparency from the CBO now when they had just offered 0% Transparency on their Bill??? So the only reason I can see for the Republican agenda of "Transparency" from the CBO is that they want to attack their methodology and data models to further confuse and complicate the information that the public receives about their Bills by having the Republican Think Tanks and NGOs release their own counter methodology and data models to try and refute the CBO's results!!! It's been the classical, go to response from the Republicans to come out with their own contradictory statements and information about every single policy they have ever worked on which is clearly BS and Bald Faced Lies!!! So when they suddenly want "Transparency" from an unbiased government office that called them on their BS Bill the only thing that comes to mind is that they want the CBO's methods, data, and statistics so that they can attack them on every single little detail and then offer their own methods to try and refute the CBO. So I say No to the Republicans FAKE CALL FOR TRANSPARENCY!!!!!
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    I would be less suspicious of the motives behind this bill if it had some non-Republican cosponsors.
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