Sunday, July 26, 2009

The OMB-CBO throwdown

Obama called Elmendorf to the White House after the CBO director testified that the present House bill would add $239 billion to the deficit over the next ten years, creating a rift between moderate and liberal Democrats in the House and abruptly halting the effort in the Senate. Obama denied that he intended to intimidate Elmendorf into providing more sympathetic numbers in subsequent analyses, but the White House got roundly criticized for inappropriately interfering with Congress’ independence in fiscal analysis.

Now, however, the White House has dispensed with the illusion of bullying and made it as overt as possible. This makes the intent of the earlier meeting crystal clear. They had hoped to intimidate Elmendorf in private, and since that didn’t work, they’re now doing it openly.

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