October 06,2009

Grassley, Fellow Finance Committee Republicans Seek Participation by Key Budget, Tax Officials Before Voting on Health Care Bill

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, and all nine of his fellow committee Republicans today urged the committee chairman to ensure participation by the Congressional Budget Office director and the chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation when the committee is asked to consider any changes or vote on a major health care reform bill.

“Health care reform is a monumental task that will touch the life of every American,” the senators wrote to Sen. Max Baucus, chairman. “Before the Committee votes to report the legislation out of Committee, it is important that all Members have a thorough understanding of the cost of the legislation and how individuals, families, and businesses will be affected. In keeping with the President’s request that health care reform be revenue neutral over a ten-year period and reduce the growth of health care spending over the long run, it is important that Members have an opportunity to ask questions about the legislation’s deficit impact within the ten-year budget window and beyond.”

The non-partisan, expert advisers are key to answering questions about the budgetary and everyday impact of the legislation, which will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The Republican senators said the participation by the CBO and JCT officials is consistent with the chairman’s commitments about time to review official cost estimates, which the chairman made in response to Republican senators’ questions during last week’s committee consideration of the chairman’s draft legislation.
The text of the senators’ letter follows here.