Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, called out Democrats’ hypocrisy over using budgetary tools to make their infrastructure bill appear less expensive.
Democrats lambasted Republicans for using dynamic scoring to achieve a lower estimate for the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Now that Democrats want to pass their multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, they have employed that same budget tactic.
Dynamic scoring is a way to measure the fiscal cost of legislation by incorporating its macroeconomic effects, such as the impact on employment and gross domestic product (GDP).
Republicans argued that the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would only cost $1.1 trillion over 10 years by including growth in the economy as the result of the tax cuts, while conventional scoring found that the bill would cost $1.5 trillion.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the now-chair of the Senate Budget Committee, once called dynamic scoring a “gimmick” and a way to “cook the books.”
In response to his using of dynamic scoring after he criticized it, he said Republicans “introduced the concept!”
“The truth is that economic policy and tax policy has an impact on revenue,” Sanders admitted. “Everybody knows that. What nobody knows is exactly what it will do. It’s a kind of nebulous concept.”
Smith said Democrats once attacked dynamic scoring as “fake math.”
“Now that it suits their political agenda, they are all too eager to embrace the idea,” Smith said. “Only in Washington does that math add up,” he remarked.
David Wessel, a director of fiscal policy at the Brookings Institution, said dynamic scoring could help Democrats include provisions that would otherwise not make it in their reconciliation bill.
“We’re way beyond the frontiers of what we can be confident of, economically. It’s just a way for members to pretend that they’re paying for something,” Wessel said.
House Budget Committee chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) drew a moral equivalency, claiming both Republicans and Democrats used “squishy” math to pursue their legislative agenda.
“Everything I’ve seen us do — on both sides, with whoever is in the majority over the last 10 years in terms of putting budgets together — has been squishy. Everybody plays games with it,” Yarmuth said.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.