“There are a lot of complications to doing this right,” he said.
But committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) pressed the director. “I can tell you, Mr. Elmendorf, this is a very serious concern of this committee,” he said. “I can’t overemphasize how important this mark is,” Baucus said, referring to the legislative package.
Elmendorf said that any change, no matter how small, impacts several other components of the bill. Traditionally, CBO scores are based on actual legislative language, he added. The Baucus effort, so far, consists only of a detailed outline.
“If we give you preliminary analysis of the modification, that would take time we would otherwise spend in estimating amendments that we have not yet gotten to score,” Elmendorf said. “We are working almost literally around the clock, but it’s very important for us to maintain the quality of the analysis and estimates that we present.”
Republicans have seized on President Barack Obama’s promise not to sign a health reform bill that adds to the federal deficit.
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