Congressional Budget Office’s One-Sided Take on Deficit Reduction

Categories: Budget

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) continues its questionable process of coming up with a one-sided list of options presented to Congress as an a la carte menu for deficit reductions. The most recent report once again included a proposal to arbitrarily cut 10% of the federal civilian workforce without taking into consideration the increasing workloads and tasks demanded by the growing population.

Those options, according to the CBO, are based on proposed legislation and budget proposals by various administrations and lawmakers, but it’s curious that certain common-sense proposals that will save billions never made it into CBO reports. For example, a proposal that would strengthen the country’s security and help save taxpayers’ dollars by reducing its reliance on expensive service contractors was never an option in the CBO report even though contractors are two to three times more expensive than civilian employees and the government spends more than $250 billion annually on these service contracts.

“I ask you to strongly recommend to CBO that it include options that would encourage lawmakers to look as closely at service contract spending as they already do at spending on federal employees,” AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. said in a letter to Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen, who have the authority to direct CBO to include certain options in its savings estimates.

CBO could, for example, include in its list an option that would: ''reduce spending on service contracts at certain agencies by 10 percent by allowing those agencies to spend no more than one dollar for every three dollars that had been spent on service contracts that are terminated or whose options expire. The President would be allowed to exempt an agency under certain conditions. (It would be assumed that agencies would not be allowed to use federal employees or military personnel to offset the required reduction in service contract spending.)" 

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